The Dallas Youth Commission was fortunate enough to travel to Washington, D.C. over Spring Break to attend the National League of Cities. There, we represented the City of Dallas and the youth population in Dallas in a variety of conferences. We learned a lot and were able to network with a bunch of different youth groups from all across the country. It certainly was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. However, I think that I speak for the entire Commission when I say that the general session we attended – where President Joe Biden spoke – was certainly the highlight of the week.
The entire room was packed when the President came to speak, as was to be expected. After all, how many people can say that they were able to be in the same room as the President? Some Dallas City Council members were there with us, and we all waited a long time for everyone to file through the airport-like security. The only way I can describe the experience would be surreal.
To be entirely honest, everyone was anticipating a pre-recorded video of President Biden. I mean, with everything going on with Ukraine, inflation, and gas prices, did the President really have time to spare to come to talk with municipal leaders? Apparently, he did.
President Biden had a few opening speakers before he came on stage, including Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Ambassador Susan Rice. They talked about transportation, new bills, and, of course, the crisis in Ukraine. Everyone was anxiously excited throughout the speeches. Admittedly, even I was interested in what Mr. Buttigieg was saying, despite the fact that infrastructure plans have little to do with what I do as a Youth Commissioner.
When President Biden got to the stage, party lines seemed to fade in the crowd. Although I know that everyone has their political alignments, I could hardly tell throughout President Biden’s speech. Seemingly everyone was cheering for everything he said.
President Biden spoke about a variety of things: the White House Cancer Moonshot program, Ukraine and Russia, gas prices, the bipartisan infrastructure bill, the American Rescue Plan, and so much more. Among it all, the statement that stuck out to me the most was his guarantee that he will put a cap on insulin prices at thirty-five dollars a month.
I do not personally have diabetes, but I have many close friends who do. Even going back to the Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz campaigns of 2018, I have distinct memories of my friends worrying about the price of insulin and if they would rise or fall. President Biden’s 35-dollar guarantee would be life-changing. Especially considering that, currently, a vial of insulin is 12 dollars in Canada and newer versions of insulin can retail for 175- to 300-dollars in the United States.
Essentially, among the benefits of the American Rescue Plan (health care coverage, vaccine availability, small business assistance, etc.), President Biden’s 35-dollar insulin guarantee could change the lives of all American diabetics.
With all that said, the trip to Washington D.C. was an incredible experience where every Youth Commissioner learned a lot and was able to network across state lines.
Special thank you to the Dallas City Council for allowing the Dallas Youth Commission to represent Dallas youth in D.C.!
Written by: Arran Davis
Edited by: Ricardo Corpus