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Lansing, MI Mayor: Biden’s $350B for state and local aid ‘will be tremendously helpful’

Mayor Andy Schor of Lansing, Michigan joins Yahoo Finance's Sibile Marcellus to discuss his thoughts on President-elect Biden's stimulus proposal.

Video Transcript

SIBILE MARCELLUS: Welcome back to Yahoo Finance Live. Now, security concerns are not limited just around the inauguration in D.C. Security officials are concerned throughout the country in all 50 states. And one area of serious concern is Lansing, Michigan. Now, that city is on high alert for protests and the potential for violence at the state's Capitol building. Now let's talk some more about this, I want to bring in Lansing's mayor, Andy Schor. Now, Mayor Schor, what protocols do you have in place to protect the state Capitol?

ANDY SCHOR: Well, we're coordinating with our state police, the Capitol is a state police area, and Lansing police, polices around that area. So we're coordinating with our state police. I've made a request to the governor for a National Guard, so we will have some National Guard folks here. We're still hopeful for the best, but preparing for the worst. When you hear rumors and things like that about what could happen, we see what happened in D.C. At the Capitol. We are coordinating our response to make sure that we're prepared in case a peaceful protest turns violent.

SIBILE MARCELLUS: We're still days away from the inauguration. So how safe do state senators feel working inside the Capitol? Because you're still open as I understand.

ANDY SCHOR: They are still open and they do have session next week. Our first concern is this Sunday, because that's when we're seeing the first of the armed protests. And they're not in on Sunday, so that's our first priority. But they have indicated up till now that they're planning to be in session. I'm sure there are some senators and representatives who are not comfortable with that. And I'm sure that there are some who are. We work with their legislative leadership based on what they intend to do and we support the state police in that area.

SIBILE MARCELLUS: And I also saw that open carry guns, that's been banned inside the Capitol. Have you gotten any pushback from that? Or is everybody pretty much on board that security is paramount?

ANDY SCHOR: No, no, there's certainly pushback. This has been an issue for many years. I served in the House of Representatives for five years. And there were certainly people who believe that they should be able to openly carry and protect themselves. And the Capitol Commission hasn't been willing to change that up until now, when they saw what happened last week, when they saw that it really can be a security threat. They banned open carry. And I do think that will be an issue that will cause more anger for the people who believe they should be able to openly carry. So it's another factor we have to consider.

SIBILE MARCELLUS: Right, but it means less guns, I guess, inside the Capitol building, or at least law enforcement will be the ones carrying the weapons.

ANDY SCHOR: Yeah, I agree with you on that. I'm not saying everybody does, but I agree with you on that. Less guns is better. Less chance for an accident, less chance for someone stealing a gun, less guns means less chance for an accident. Again, there are those who would say that they can protect themselves with a gun, but I would agree with you. And I think it was the right decision to ban open carry of guns in the Capitol. We can't have that outside the Capitol because Michigan is an open carry state, so we navigate that. So there will still get people walking around, openly carrying guns all throughout our downtown. But at least within the Capitol, that won't be a problem.

SIBILE MARCELLUS: And I understand you've increased security for the days leading up to inauguration day. Are you going to have even more reinforcement for inauguration day itself?

ANDY SCHOR: Yeah, we're working on that. Again, the first priority is this Sunday, but we will be looking at security straight through inauguration day. Again, we're working, you see some pictures there of the Michigan State Police. Lansing Police, Michigan State Police, the County Sheriff, the National Guard-- we have all of those resources at our fingertips.

SIBILE MARCELLUS: Well, we'll definitely keep monitoring the situation when it comes to security. But I also wanted to ask you about incoming President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan. Now, it's supposed to include $350 billion for local and state governments. Now what's your reaction to that? Is that going to be enough money?

ANDY SCHOR: Well, I'm very excited because up till now we've gotten zero. The House of Representatives last year passed a bill and then the US Senate removed that money, so we've gotten to zero. So the $350 billion would be tremendously helpful. Cities are struggling right now. We are having an economic crisis as a result of the pandemic. And we're putting more money out for policing, and for fire, and for paramedics, and for assistance. We're seeing crime go up because people are locked in their houses.

We need to keep people safe. We're seeing businesses that are shutting down and doing takeout and things like that. These are dollars that are absolutely needed right now for communities to be able to protect and provide services. So I'm excited about it. Sure, I'd love to see more, but right now, anything more than zero is necessary.

SIBILE MARCELLUS: Yes, absolutely. We definitely want more than zero for a loan in government as you deal with the coronavirus pandemic, and of course, the vaccine rollout. So what is your reaction to the news that-- we heard from the federal government-- that we're going to be releasing the second dose, but then come to find that they already did that. There's a possibility that there's a shortfall when it comes to the stockpile. What are your thoughts?

ANDY SCHOR: It's concerning. It's tremendously concerning. We know that our governor here has requested from the federal government the opportunity to buy doses because we have Pfizer right here in Michigan, about an hour from Lansing. And I know she's doing everything she can to make sure that we have first dose and second dose availability. We've already given first dose to our police and firefighters, everyone that would take it. So we know that we need the second dose. And I rely on our governor.

We work with our health director, through our county health department. But we need that second dose. And we need first dose for all of our seniors and our residents and everybody who needs to get that vaccine. We're no different than anyone else. It concerns me if there's any shortfall because we need those doses to get out to everybody. And we certainly need the second dose within the 21 days to make sure that people are inoculated and safe from this terrible pandemic.

SIBILE MARCELLUS: And where do you fall in terms of prioritizing? Is it the nursing home, people who are over 65 years old, or health care workers? Where do you stand?

ANDY SCHOR: Yeah, we follow the federal guidance through our state. So it's health care workers, and first responders, police and fire first. When we go into 1B-- Category 1B, you add teachers, you add a variety of other first responders. Here at the city, we're certainly concerned about any of our employees that are directly working with the public, our building inspectors and home inspectors and things. We desperately want to see our teachers getting the vaccination so that kids can have an option to be back in school. Here in Lansing, it's strictly remote to keep the kids and their families safe.

So we want to see teachers-- those are the priority. And then as you go down, it's people who are 65 and older. That is our 1B. And hopefully, we'll get through all of those and be able to move into 1C, so we can continue to vaccinate down the priority list.

SIBILE MARCELLUS: Absolutely. Americans definitely need those coronavirus vaccines. Mayor Andy Schor, thanks so much.

ANDY SCHOR: Thank you so much for having me.