VP Harris talks tackling crime, new mask mandates during 1-on-1 interview with Action News

The vice president acknowledged the exhaustion over Covid-19 restrictions, but said there was reason for springtime hope.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Vice President Kamala Harris visited Philadelphia on Tuesday to talk about unions and meet with labor leaders.

Harris delivered remarks to the Sheet Metal Workers Association in South Philadelphia, highlighting the administration's commitment to workers. Over 430,000 new jobs were created in March, and unemployment is at a historic low.

But what most workers want to talk about it is the daily pain: inflation hit a 40-year high Tuesday, sitting at 8.5%.

Everything from gas to groceries is now costing more.

Many workers may have the best jobs and the paychecks of their lives, yet it feels like they are being punished with pay cuts.

Action News anchor Tamala Edwards sat down with Harris for an exclusive one-on-one interview covering a variety of topics.

Harris pointed to efforts by the Biden Administration to ease the pinch with lower drug prices, child tax credits and more. But she says they know it's not enough.

"We have to be vigilant and have to keep working on this. We do know we created more than 7 million jobs in our administration. We know there have been good economic benefits for the work we have done. But it doesn't mean we don't need to do more," Harris told Action News.

The vice president was monitoring the carnage in Brooklyn unleashed by a gunman in a subway station.

People on Philadelphia streets know all too well what it is to fear death, crime and violence on these streets.

A Pew Poll found that 50% of the people here don't feel safe in their own homes and nearly two-thirds of Philadelphians have heard a gunshot in the last year.

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Action News anchor Tamala Edwards sat down for an exclusive one-on-one interview with Vice President Kamala Harris.

The vice president said the answer is a balancing act: tougher consequences but fairer criminal justice.

"It's about just making sure there are serious consequences and accountability in particular for serious crime, but also doing what we need to do to address what we have to address about abuses within the system," Harris said.

Harris was vigilant about masking and maintaining social distance as Philadelphia prepares to reinstate a mask mandate next week. It's a move that has left even supportive voters and businesses frustrated.

The vice president acknowledged the exhaustion and outcry but said there was reason for springtime hope.

"There will be an end to this, of that I am certain. You look at the fact that 99% of our public schools are back open. You look at the fact that our small businesses are back open, movie theaters are back open. So we are seeing progress. Let's not lose sight of that," said Harris.

In the middle of the difficult news, Harris said she was holding on to hope over the newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.

And she reminds us that the historic moment is not just about Black women, but about all of us.

"It's about saying there are so many opportunities to be what we can be, unburdened by what has been, regardless of race or gender," Harris said.

Of course, the end of the war in Ukraine would help at the pump. Harris said the administration is doing what it can to release oil from the strategic reserves and keeping the pressure on the man she says deserves the blame and responsibility, Vladimir Putin.
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