WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS SF/AP) — Like millions of Californians who have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been a daily struggle for laid-off San Francisco online worker Michele Voelkert.
On Saturday, she got a little pep talk on a call from President Joe Biden.READ MORE: UPDATE: Victim, Suspect Identified In Fatal Oakland Park Shooting in Front of Children
Voelkert, 47, was working for Stitch Fix, an online personal styling service based in San Francisco, when she lost her job.
Last year, Michele lost her job because of the pandemic. I recently gave her a call to hear her story and discuss how my American Rescue Plan will help families like hers. pic.twitter.com/SAqM2GytPf
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 6, 2021
The White House on Saturday released a two-and-a-half-minute video of Biden’s long-distance telephone conversation. After losing her job at a startup clothing company in July, she wrote Biden a letter. He read it, then called her.
Voelkert — who lives in Roseville — told Biden “it’s been a tough time” trying to find work.READ MORE: COVID: Youth, Adult Multi-Team Sports Can Resume In Alameda Co., Berkeley
Biden, who spoke from his Oval Office desk, replied that his father used to say a job is about dignity and respect as much as it is about a paycheck. He described his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan, which calls for $1,400 payments to people like Michele, and other economic aid for individuals and small businesses. There’s also money to help distribute coronavirus vaccines.
“I’ve been saying a long time, the idea that we think we can keep businesses open and moving and thriving without dealing with this pandemic is just a nonstarter,” Biden said.
The conversation is part of an effort to help Biden, who has largely limited his travel because of the pandemic, communicate directly with Americans, the White House said. Biden did fly to Wilmington, Delaware, on Friday to spend the weekend at home with his family.
“There is a time-honored tradition in the country of hearing from the president in this way,” press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday in previewing the video. She referenced Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “fireside chats” and Ronald Reagan’s establishment of a weekly radio address.
The radio address eventually grew to include a video version viewed over the internet. The practice, however, became moribund under former President Donald Trump.
Psaki said Biden’s weekly address would be produced in a variety of forms.MORE NEWS: UPDATE: Missing San Francisco Girl Found Safe In Pittsburg With Michigan Runaway
© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.