Why’s Carmel, Indiana So Ahead of State Vaccination Numbers?

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BIANNA GOLODRYGA: The United States, when you’re looking at fully vaccinated citizens, less than 50 percent. Indiana has 44 percent. You have 80 percent. What are you doing right?

JAMES BRAINARD (R), MAYOR OF CARMEL, INDIANA: Well, I think part of it’s our population. We’re fortunate. About 100,000 people live in Carmel. It’s part of the Indianapolis metropolitan area. And we have a high level number of adults that have had the good fortune to attend college. And I think almost 40 percent of our population has a graduate degree. So, far more than seeing it as a Republican/Democratic divide, I see it — I think people who have had, as I said, the good fortune to attend college and possibly graduate school are spending the time and analyzing the science at a different level than perhaps others who haven’t had that good fortune. And I think it’s a lot more about educational level than it is about politics.

GOLODRYGA: And that makes sense. But, in terms of politics and education levels, you look at many state leaders, from Florida, to Kansas, to Texas, they’re all educated. Many of them went to Ivy League schools. And yet they’re not having the same conversations that you’re having with your community based on just science. They are bringing politics into this. And, as we know, it is costing lives and it is adding a lot of stress to local hospitals. So what is your message to some of those politicians, the majority of which happen to be Republican?

BRAINARD: I think they need to pay attention to science. They need to really think about what’s best for their community. I understand that we live in a very partisan environment right now. But we need to move beyond that and do what’s best for our neighbors, what’s best for our community. We need to take care of those who are more vulnerable to this terrible disease. And if we all look out for each other, we can — granted, a lot of my colleagues in the Republican Party do not want to see mask mandates and see the government telling people what to do. Well, the way to accomplish that is to get herd immunity through higher levels of vaccination. And I would encourage them to help people understand that. I think part of the issue as well, there’s a part of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, we meet on a regular basis pre-pandemic. And it’s always the joke that there’s no Republican or Democratic way to pick up trash or fill chuckholes. And so I think that mayors in general tend to be less partisan than perhaps state officers, and certainly federal elected officials. We work — once you’re elected mayor, you see everybody, regardless of party, in the grocery store and on the street on a regular basis. And it’s about making your community a good place to live for everyone.

About This Episode EXPAND

Ret. Lt Col. Alexander Vindman; James Brainard; Dr. Adam Hampshire