Congressman Jimmy Panetta tours San Benito County

He says American Rescue Plan Act will provide ‘significant amounts of money’ for the county, cities and schools.
Congressman Panetta masks up as he arrives at the San Benito Health Foundation. Photo by John Chadwell.
Panetta talked with those who welcomed him at the clinic. The topic on everyone's mind was vaccinations and how fast the state would open up. Photo by John Chadwell.
During the tour of San Benito Health Foundation Congressman Panetta watched as county residents were receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. Photo by John Chadwell.
Volunteer Wayne Norton monitors residents who received vaccinations for the mandatory 15 minutes. Photo by John Chadwell.
During his whirlwind tour through the county Panetta visited the food bank, a high-tech company, and the health clinic. Photo by John Chadwell.

Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) visited San Benito County on April 8 as part of his “district work period to get out wherever I can.” During his tour of the county he stopped to visit the Community Food Bank of San Benito County, the high-tech company Nanotronics, and then the San Benito Health Foundation, where he was met in the parking lot by CEO and director Rosa Vivian Fernandez and others prior to going inside and touring the facility.

On a day that vehicles were lined up around the health foundation as residents received COVID-19 vaccines and waited the mandatory 15 minutes before driving away, Panetta said he wanted to share the message of how “the federal government is actually working for the people by providing supplies to these federal-funded health clinics throughout the Central Coast.”

“This is what government is supposed to do,” he told BenitoLink. “It affects people’s lives. This is what it’s about, hopefully keeping up and winning the race of injections versus infections.”

He motioned toward the line of people receiving vaccinations.

“People are doing what they need to do and I’m just glad the federal government is involved in this and actually playing its part and should have from the very beginning in helping with supplies and logistics and making sure that shots get in arms,” he said.

The Health Foundation was at odds earlier this year with San Benito County over allocations of COVID-19 vaccines.

In the two weeks that he has been touring the Central Coast, Panetta said he has witnessed a sense of optimism “not felt over the past year.”

“It’s all about getting the vaccines out there and people getting a little control back in their lives,” he said, adding, “Right now with the American Rescue Plan Act that was passed you’re going see significant amounts of money come into the health clinic, the county of San Benito, Hollister, San Juan Bautista, our schools and Gavilan College.”

Panetta announced on March 30 that San Benito, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties would receive $25.46 million in federal funding through ARPA. President Joe Biden signed the bill into law on March 11.

According to a press release, “The funding will help counties and community health centers prevent, mitigate and respond to COVID-19 and enhance healthcare services and infrastructure.  ARPA includes $6.1 billion in public health funding for counties and community health centers experiencing the greatest need during the pandemic.”


Other related BenitoLink articles:

COVID-19 vaccine providers answer claims of charging admin fees

Q&A: San Benito Health Foundation Director Rosa Vivian Fernandez

Public Letter: SB Health Foundation responds to allegations of unauthorized vaccine administration

San Benito Health Foundation under investigation for unauthorized COVID-19 vaccine administration 



John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a BenitoLink reporter and an author. He has many years experience as a freelance photojournalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer who has worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and underwent graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John has worked as a script doctor and his own script, God's Club, was released as a motion picture in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime that are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected]