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Stories from the KUNR newsroom and regional partners related to the 2024 elections

First Lady Jill Biden highlights health care access for seniors during Reno visit

Biden and Fonda raise and embrace hands while on a stage as a crowd of people cheer them on.
Lucia Starbuck
KUNR Public Radio
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden (right) with actress and activist Jane Fonda at a Seniors for Biden-Harris campaign event in Reno, Nevada on June 14, 2024.

First Lady Jill Biden spoke to a gymnasium filled with seniors in Reno on Friday. Speakers discussed social security, access to reproductive care, and lowering medication prices.

There was an energetic buzz at the Plumas Park Gym as more than 200 seniors, local elected officials and candidates, tribal leaders, and volunteers with Joe Biden’s campaign listened to the First Lady, who was joined by actress and activist Jane Fonda.

Biden echoed the significance of the administration’s passing of policies directly affecting seniors, such as allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of medications for the first time in history.

During her roughly 10-minute speech, Biden also addressed a common voter complaint— the president’s age. President Biden is 81, and former President Donald Trump turned 78 on Friday.

“Joe and the other guy are essentially the same age. Let’s not be fooled,” Biden said. “This election is about the character of the person leading our country.”

Reno resident Janice Flanagan, 92, was one of the first invitees lined up, trying to beat the afternoon heat under the shade of a tree.

“Well, for me, he’s a young sprite,” she said. “I think he has many more years ahead.”

Flanagan said the biggest issues to her personally are access to abortion and women’s rights, particularly for her grandchildren. She supports that the Biden administration is trying to erase student loan debt for some.

“I hate to see the young people stop dead in their tracks with having such a heavy burden on them as they graduate from college,” Flanagan said. “I’m hoping that people, especially the young people, will understand that is such a big deal.”

While others in the crowd wanted to hear more about how the administration is tackling affordable housing, and the price of food and gas for seniors.

Biden’s visit was the campaign’s first major event in Northern Nevada since Tuesday’s primary election. The lineup of current and former Nevada elected officials said it is crucial for the crowd to help re-elect Biden, and Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen over challenger Sam Brown to help Democrats maintain control of the U.S. Senate and White House.

Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning political journalist and the host of KUNR’s monthly show Purple Politics Nevada. She is passionate about reporting during election season, attending community events, and talking to people about the issues that matter most to them.