U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to a crowd at Irvine Valley College regarding lowering medical and drug costs for American families. Abner Caguioa, Irvine Valley College | Courtesy
Saddleback President Elliot Stern, met United States President, Joe Biden, after he gave a speech at Irvine Valley College on Friday, Oct. 14. The speech was regarding the Inflation Reduction Act and lowering the cost of pharmaceuticals for American families.
As a part of Biden’s two day tour across Southern California, he made multiple stops, one of which was to the IVC campus.
“Irvine Valley College was contacted by the White House advance team about the possibility of an official Presidential visit on Tuesday, October 11,” said Diane Oaks, executive director of marketing and creative services at IVC. “The White House was seeking a location in Irvine while the President was traveling to Southern California.”
Stern did not plan on attending the event, and learned of it the day before the president’s arrival from South Orange County Community College District Chancellor, Dr. Julia Barnes. When Stern arrived, he watched as the Secret Service prepared for Biden’s president’s arrival.
“During this time, I stood next to a Secret Service officer in a classic black suit and transparent, spiral earpiece,” said Stern. “He never stopped scanning the room.”
In the crowd, president Stern watched the speech unfold. He spoke to the crowd on drug reform and the consequences of the current system.
“He was stronger and more passionate than I expected,” said Stern. “This issue of drug price reform was one he clearly cared about. Substantively, I thought he made good points about capitalism working effectively in unfettered markets where there could be price competition.”
The two had a quick interaction when Biden noticed Stern’s satisfaction during the middle of his speech, acknowledging his smile. Stern was far away from Biden, stuck behind two rails a foot apart. Stern didn’t think he would get a chance to actually meet the president.
“He then stopped reading from the teleprompter, looked over at me and said, ‘You’re smiling!’ He went on and finished the speech,” said Stern. “After his speech, he approached the front row of the audience to shake hands. To my surprise he said to his staff, ‘Wait, I gotta get smilin’ guy.’ He headed right to me and shook my hand. I was surprised and pretty elated, as my face suggests.
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Biden flew into LAX on Wednesday, Oct. 12 and left from John Wayne Airport on Friday, Oct. 14 to Portland, Oregon. The Inflation Reduction Act went into effect on Aug. 16, 2022 with a House vote of 220-207 and a Senate vote of 51-50.
This article was written with Jack West.