Rep. Mike Levin Announces Vista Community Clinic Leader as Honorary Virtual Guest for President Biden’s Address to Congress
Vista, CA – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Levin (D-CA) announced that Vista Community Clinic (VCC) CEO Fernando Sañudo is his honorary virtual guest for President Joe Biden’s upcoming address to a joint session of Congress. Under Mr. Sañudo’s leadership, the VCC has administered thousands of COVID-19 vaccines for vulnerable individuals, including people experiencing homelessness, migrant farmworkers, and others. The VCC was awarded $14.7 million from the American Rescue Plan to support its work and was also among the first 25 federally qualified Community Health Centers (CHCs) in the nation to receive additional COVID vaccines directly from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The address, which is President Biden’s first speech to a joint session of Congress, marks 100 days into the President’s first term. In the past, Rep. Levin has invited constituents to join him as his guest for State of the Union speeches. While Rep. Levin and Mr. Sañudo will not be able to attend the address in person due to COVID-19 precautions that limit attendance, Rep. Levin is proud to maintain the tradition of honoring constituents who represent the best of his district.
“Thanks to President Biden’s determination to get Americans vaccinated, robust relief provided under the American Rescue Plan, and the hard work of health care providers like the Vista Community Clinic, we are closer than ever to putting this pandemic behind us,” said Rep. Levin. “When President Biden speaks to the extraordinary progress we’ve made administering vaccines and limiting the spread of the virus, it will be due to the leadership of people like Mr. Sañudo, which is why I’m proud to recognize him as my honorary virtual guest for the address. I’m incredibly grateful for everyone at the Vista Community Clinic who has worked tirelessly to vaccinate as many people as possible, particularly underserved populations who have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. I also look forward to hearing President Biden’s vision to Build Back Better from this pandemic, invest in infrastructure and clean energy, and advance a comprehensive American Families Plan.”
“It is an absolute honor to be Representative Levin’s guest during this virtual address,” said VCC CEO Fernando Sañudo. “As we stand on the precipice of change, we are making history together as leaders in the fight to secure, strengthen, and extend community healthcare. Representative Levin has been a steadfast supporter of the work we do at VCC and I could not be happier to have a representative seat at such a momentous event. I am eager to learn more about the direction of our country and how we can continue this collaborative work in improving the health and wellness of our fellow community members, for years to come.”
The American Rescue Plan provided $7.6 billion to support COVID-19 response efforts at CHCs, and the Vista Community Clinic received $14.7 million of that funding. The VCC was also selected by HRSA and CDC to participate in an initiative to expand vaccine distribution to underserved communities, including individuals experiencing homelessness, public housing residents, migrant and seasonal agricultural workers, and patients with limited English proficiency. Earlier this month, Rep. Levin toured the VCC to see its vaccination operation.
Rep. Levin has advocated for CHCs like VCC throughout the pandemic. Last year, he led a letter with 72 of his House colleagues calling on HHS to direct more relief funding to CHCs and other Medicaid providers to cover unreimbursed health care related expenses or lost revenues attributable to the pandemic. He led another letter with more than 240 Members of Congress to HHS opposing changes that placed stricter limits on the way health care providers could use federal aid from the Provider Relief Fund.
Rep. Levin’s honorary guest for the 2020 State of the Union was Dr. Pat Davis, who lost three family members in a coastal bluff collapse at Grandview Beach. Rep. Levin and Dr. Davis worked together to address coastal erosion issues in the region. Rep. Levin’s guest for the 2019 State of the Union was Lucero Sanchez, a Dreamer and Environmental Science student at UC San Diego. Together, they highlighted the invaluable contributions Dreamers make to their communities and stood up to the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant agenda.