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Verbatim: Community members reflect on Biden’s inauguration

“I am pleased to see that he has already put out a nation’s plan for combatting COVID. The fact that we now have a unified plan is extraordinary. There is no longer any clickbait or fake news. Everything is toned down a bit, the way things used to be. I am concerned about his age, but the biggest concern I really have is that there is a large population of America that is marginalized as second-class citizens. Many in Joe Biden’s party don’t see this as a real issue.” 

– Jennifer DiBrienza, PAUSD School Board Member

“I hope for Biden to (create) unity, reverse the trend and make a change. I am pretty hopeful in general in what Biden is going to do — I think he has a good team around and has good morals. The main concern I have is his ability to get legislation and acts passed because there is a division in the Senate. 

– junior Zach Hayward

“My hope for Joe Biden’s administration is that they will be able to (reach) across the aisle, to achieve some progress that we have not been able to achieve in the last four years. I hope he focuses on social inequality and the environment. I hope he tries to help women’s rights. I am hopeful that he will be able to bring back a sense of normalcy to the way that government is run. The adults are back in charge. I am concerned about Mitch McConnell and his philosophy and what we will do with healing the divide in this country.”

– Stephanie Compton, PAUSD classroom aide 

“My hopes for Joe Biden are addressing climate change and climate disasters. I would like a president to take very drastic steps to bring fossil fuel and greenhouse gas (emissions) down. I hope he divests from the fossil fuels industry in general. Stop subsidizing fossil fuels and stop making more fossil fuels. California this year saw very drastic wildfires. We have one earth, and we need to protect that.” 

– Sima Thomas, Paly librarian 

“My hope is that he can rise admirably to the staggering challenges that he has ahead of him, in terms of the pandemic and injustice with a very divided political system. It is going to be a lot of work. There is a lot to clean up, and then there’s just this pandemic. The pandemic adds a mountain of challenges, and he has a lot on his plate. I think expertise is important, and I think he needs to work on bringing people together but not at the cost of not doing the right thing.” 

– Kelda Jamison, Stanford Anthropology, fellowship program manager at Stanford Humanities Center

“My hope for Joe Biden is that he will bring back policies that will be helpful to all Americans. Economic polices and as well as just general policies that will help with the wealth gap in this country that seems to have gotten worse, especially in the past four years. I hope that he will address COVID-19. I hope that he will help bring Americans together. We used to be a place that people wanted to come and work, and that hasn’t done well in the past four years. I am concerned that he is going to bend over backward to make the Republicans feel better. I’m concerned he won’t (follow) bold policy agendas.” 

– Tida Violante, Paly parent, Paly ’89 graduate and volunteer for Paly Rise Together Education

“I have a renewed optimism that the U.S. can get the pandemic under control and return to a normal life. My primary concern is this honeymoon of unity and that Congress will stop real legislation to support struggling families and local businesses.” 

– Jesse Ladomirak, PAUSD Board member

“I’m hoping that President Biden follows through on his commitments to environmental sustainability, fighting systematic racism, bridging the divide within our country and providing relief to those suffering as a result of the pandemic. I’m optimistic, but as politics goes, there’s always a concern that leaders either won’t have the ability or never intended to deliver on their promises. I think it’s just up to us to hold him accountable, and not let our attention drift away from the president’s actions with the change in leadership.”

– senior Sam Mutz

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