Choppers in the sky and secret service on the ground covered West Oakland Monday for Vice President Kamala Harris' first visit to the Bay Area since taking office.
The East Bay native was in Oakland to promote President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan, but she also took the time to visit local businesses.
"It's good to be home," the vice president said as she visited Red Door Catering, a local catering service.
Neighbors like Kim Robinson took pride in seeing the flurry of activity just steps from her door as Harris' motorcade arrived in town.
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"I wish I had known in advance. I would have dressed better and I would have invited her for coffee," Robinson said.
Harris met with Red Door Catering owner Reign Free, who got the rare opportunity to tell Harris how community development loans helped keep her doors open.
"We didn’t have the technical support as other larger companies," Free said. "Being able to scale so quickly and also to bring the goods to our clients was a little challenging."
Those challenges forced Free to change her business model during COVID-19, going from catering in-person events to providing healthy and locally grown food for virtual meetings.
“We have some amazing companies coming in to share our space," she said. "We make fabulous food. We care about our community."
On Monday morning, Harris joined Gov. Gavin Newsom on a walking tour of the East Bay Municipal Utility District Upper San Leandro Water Treatment Plant.
"Literally, I grew up across, off the exit," she said.
Harris is promoting Biden's $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, which includes goals like improving water quality, especially for disadvantaged communities.
"We definitely need to get the roads fixed and everything," said West Oakland resident Montana Ivey. "I appreciate the fact that she’s coming here in person during COVID."