Vice President Kamala Harris, during a Friday visit to Columbus, Ohio, to promote the newly-signed infrastructure law, said she was disappointed in the acquittal in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. 

During the trip, a jury found Rittenhouse not guilty on all charges after he fatally shot two protesters and injured a third during unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. 

“I’m disappointed in the verdict, I have to tell you,” Harris said. Harris said, “I believe it speaks for itself. However, I have also spent most of my career focusing on the things we can do to make the criminal justice system more just and fair. We still have much work to do.

Harris touted the infrastructure initiatives before a crowd at Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 189 after touring the facility with Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. After months of fighting among Democrats, President Joe Biden signed Monday’s $1.2 trillion bill.

In an interview with USA TODAY Network Ohio, Harris said the infrastructure law will help fund apprenticeship programs and repair damaged roads like Interstates 70 and 71.

She stated that “people have to drive over potholes, roads or bridges which are in poor condition,” That means your tire is flat. It means that something is stuck to your tire. Tire replacement is expensive. It doesn’t happen with insurance. And the reality of it is that it slows down the ability of people to get to work, to get to their kids.”

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during an event at Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 189 on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. Harris was touting the impacts of the recently signed infrastructure bill.

Ohio is projected to receive $9.2 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs and $483 million to repair and replace bridges over a five-year period. The state will receive $100 million in funding to increase broadband access. It will also get $253 million for airports and $1.2 billion to fund public transport. 

Programs like the Bridge Investment Act allow the Buckeye State to compete for grants. This program could fund $2.5 Billion in congestion relief on the Brent Spence Bridge connecting Cincinnati and northern Kentucky. 

Harris’ visit came hours after House Democrats passed the $2 trillion spending bill for social services and climate initiatives, another key priority of the Biden administration. It also followed her 85-minute stint as acting president while Biden was under anesthesia for a routine colonoscopy. 

Vice President Kamala Harris listens during a tour at Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 189 on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio.

Ohio Republicans quickly portrayed Harris’ visit as a publicity stunt, distracting from other issues.

“Vice President Harris is proving herself to be an empty suit whose list of accomplishments could be written on a grain of sand,” Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Paduchik said. “Instead of attempting to take a political victory lap on taxpayers’ dime and reclaim any semblance of credibility, she should be doing her job and fixing the unprecedented border crisis that she continues to fuel.”

Republican lawmakers are opposed to the Democrats’ spending bill. They claim it will fuel inflation. Harris argued the spending plan would bring down the cost of living by curbing the prices of prescription drugs, housing and elder care. 

In the near term, she stated, it is important to solve problems within the supply chain, opening ports for more product movement.

Harris stated, “Let us deal with the reality that we have been suffering from and many people are still experiencing two years of a Pandemic.” The economy was devastated. While it’s slowly rebuilding, the economic effects are still felt.

Haley BeMiller is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.



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