VP Kamala Harris on How Fixing Roads, Bridges, Pipes, and the Internet Can Help NC

Vice President Kamala Harris talks to media at the conclusion of a tour at Thomas Built Buses Monday in High Point, N.C. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

By Michael McElroy

April 19, 2021

The vice president came to North Carolina to show how the American Jobs Plan waiting for congressional approval could bolster the nation’s economy and more.

Vice President Kamala Harris made two stops in North Carolina Monday to make the case for the American Jobs Plan, the $3 trillion Biden administration proposal to improve roads, water pipes, broadband, and other national infrastructure systems.

In her first of two stops, Harris spoke at Greensboro’s Guilford Technical College, comparing the scope of the plan to the space race.

“In America, we not only dream, we do. We not only see what has been, but what can be,” she said. “We shoot for the moon and then we plant our flag on it.” 

The need is immediate and urgent nationally, she said, citing the lack of broadband in many rural areas, including in North Carolina. Then, there’s the nation’s widespread reliance on lead water pipes in its drinking water infrastructure, which poses a significant threat to children across the country. But the plan offers a hyper local solution, putting people to work in their own communities.

“It will be the largest jobs investment our country has made since World War II. And it is not only about jobs. It is about good jobs. Good jobs for every worker. Good jobs for every worker everywhere.”

Like in the rest of the country, North Carolinians would get work laying broadband lines, repairing roads, and replacing lead pipes in their own communities, Harris said. 

“Too often when opportunity knocks, it knocks from far away. And their children grow up and have to move away. And that’s why we want to bring opportunity closer to home,” she said. 

More Than Roads

The infrastructure plan would also expand training and education opportunities and build infrastructure for affordable and accessible child care.

“We’re going to invest in workforce development in a big way. We’re also going to create as many as 2 million new registered apprenticeship slots, and we’re going to make sure that these opportunities are equally available to women as well as men,” Harris said.

“Because there’s an interesting fact: Hard hats are actually unisex.” 

Many of the individual aspects of the plan have broad public support, including from Republican voters, but congressional Republicans have criticized the plan as too ambitious. Harris, however, said there was no time for small steps.

“We are not going to take it slow. We are not going to take it a step at a time. Nope. We are going to take a giant leap into the future.”


  • Michael McElroy

    Michael McElroy is Cardinal & Pine's political correspondent. He is an adjunct instructor at UNC-Chapel Hill's Hussman School of Journalism and Media, and a former editor at The New York Times.

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