By Jerry Kassar
I was on a conference call last week with U.S. Rep. Carol Miller of West Virginia. The congresswoman, one of many who are making themselves available to discuss the stimulus bill, was informative and helpful going over the bill’s outline and addressing. As a conservative, she made it clear that she was not comfortable with all aspects of the bill but that it was necessary.
There was, however, one comment she made that, more then her presentation, caught my attention. In discussing New York’s predicament as the epicenter of the virus, she noted that West Virginia is mostly rural and has not seen anything remotely similar to New York, but she said they will. She suggested, based on what her state’s governor and health officials were saying, that rural states like West Virginia will start seeing an intensity of cases as New York begins to see a downturn. She felt that the success of our efforts could reduce the effect on her state, but they were planning for the worst-case scenario.
This is another reminder that we are all in this together. “One nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all,” and, I dare say, fighting viral outbreaks.
Speaking of conference calls, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis set up a tele-town hall in which she had Dr. Sal Volpe, an internist and former head of the Richmond County Medical Society, discuss the coronavirus and take questions from residents of Brooklyn and Staten Island. Not surprisingly, there were many, many people on the one-hour call with lots of questions. In fact, with so many questions, I suspect the doctor and the assemblywoman’s staff have been very busy following up.
I was glad to be on the call. The questions were great and reflected what many of us are thinking every day about the mail, our pets getting the illness, the transmission and the best ways to keep safe. All the questions were good and the answers made a lot of sense.
I want to thank Dr. Volpe and Assemblywoman Malliotakis for setting up this call.
Malliotakis also recommended to the governor and city officials that the Victory Memorial Hospital site, mostly unused but maintained, be reactivated as part of the surge. I was a member of the board of the old Victory Memorial Hospital and, alongside so many from the community, fought an unsuccessful battle to keep it open.
It was unquestionably a mistake to close it. I am just sorry it is during this crisis that we are experiencing the state’s mistake.
In any event, Nicole tells me that the governor and his staff are looking seriously at her request. It would be great if all our local elected officials could get behind it.