Second Gentleman visits Crater Lake, meets park officials and firefighters

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK, Ore. – Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff visited Crater Lake Thursday to talk with park officials and firefighters. He was joined by Governor Kate Brown and Chuck Sams III, the director of the National Park Service. They met with park officials and visitors to discuss what they want to do to help the region fight the effects of climate change and wildfires.

Emhoff said, “This is not just an issue I’ve jumped into because I’m Second Gentleman or I’m here because of the administration. This is very personal to myself and the Vice President”

The Second Gentleman said the issue of wildfires in our region is personal to him because his brother is a firefighter in Northern California.

Emhoff said that the Biden and Harris administration is committed to helping communities mitigate wildfires through political action like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.

“It was very emotional and personal to meet them and talk to them and also, coming from California where we’ve had a lot of wildfires there. I mentioned we’ve been evacuated from our home a few times,” Emhoff said.

He said he is proud of the administration for getting ahead of issues like wildfire mitigation, which is part of a larger plan to tackle climate change.

Governor Kate Brown thanked the federal administration for leading the charge on addressing climate change and for the resources they have provided the state to modernize their firefighting efforts.

She said, “Very pleased to see the focus from this administration on both prevention and mitigation of wildfires, supporting our firefighters. Under Joe Biden’s leadership, firefighters got a pay raise and that’s incredibly important.”

Chuck Sams III, a native Oregonian and the first Native American to be director of the National Parks Service, stressed how much the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will help with fire suppression and management.

He said $1 million from that bill will go directly into Crater Lake National Park, Oregon’s only national park.

“Most importantly, we were able to talk about fire suppression,” Sams said. “In 2015, Oregon changed so dramatically, our fire season was no longer contained from spring to late summer. It is now year-round, and the devastation that Oregon has felt from these fires, it’s important to bring money on the ground.”

Sams said that showing the second gentleman and governor brown what the infrastructure bill will help protect was most important.

He explained, “The opportunity to come home to my homeland and be able to show him the beauty and grandeur of Crater Lake, along with Governor Brown, it’s been a great day.”

Emhoff said he wants to continue to help firefighters in the region beyond the federal pay increase for firefighters that just recently kicked in.

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