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News Brief: Week of Aug. 9-15


Biden chooses VP pick

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced his running mate on Tuesday, Aug. 11. Kamala Harris will run for vice president alongside Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

Harris serves as a United States senator for California; she previously served as the state’s attorney general. She also ran as a Democratic candidate in the 2020 presidential election before suspending her campaign in Dec. 2019.

With this selection, Harris becomes the first Black woman and first Asian American woman to run for vice president on a major party ticket. If elected, Harris would become the first female vice president.

While Biden and Harris initially clashed in the first Democratic debate, they have united on the ticket.

“I need someone working alongside me who is smart, tough, and ready to lead. Kamala is that person,” Biden said. “I’ve decided that Kamala Harris is the best person to help me take this fight to Donald Trump.”

USPS controversy

Donald Trump has been accused of sabotaging the United States Postal Service to prevent mail-in ballots for the 2020 presidential election.

In an interview on Thursday, Aug. 13, Trump discussed two funding provisions which would give money to the Postal Service. Without the funds, the USPS may not have enough resources to collect mail-in ballots for the presidential election in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

“If we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money,” Trump said. “That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting; they just can’t have it.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on the House to make an early return into session to address a bill which would undo changes made to the USPS which have slowed delivery.

The Delivering for America Act, led by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, would prohibit changes made to the USPS following Jan. 1, 2020.

Iowa derecho wreaks havoc 

State officials in Iowa estimate 14 million acres of crops have been destroyed after a derecho hit the state on Monday, Aug. 10.

While the storm system affected several Midwest states, it hit Iowa especially hard, leaving 800,000 citizens without power. Significant property damage was reported, from fallen trees to damaged grain bins. 

According to the National Weather Service, a derecho is a “widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms” and “the damage typically is directed in one direction along a relatively straight swath.”

Gov. Kim Reynolds has requested federal aid for Iowa following the derecho, estimating the state will need nearly $4 billion in funds to recover from the damage.


White House coronavirus task force visit

White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx was in Tulsa on Sunday, Aug. 16 to discuss the states’ response to the coronavirus pandemic.

She met with Gov. Kevin Stitt, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and state school superintendent Joy Hofmeister in a roundtable discussion on Sunday afternoon after visiting Owasso.

According to KOTV, Birx gave no specific recommendations and praised the state on its regulations.

Birx has visited cities across the country in order to discuss their COVID-19 response.

Oklahoma schools and positive COVID-19 cases

As Oklahoma schools begin opening for in-person classes, students and faculty are testing positive for COVID-19.

Students attending schools in Moore, Newcastle and Konawa tested positive, among other schools across the state. 

In addition, teachers and staff members at schools in Edmond, Yukon and Mid-Del have tested positive. 

These positive cases have lead to delayed starts, quarantine and school closures.

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