Details: Vice President Kamala Harris' Tallahassee visit on Roe V. Wade anniversary
TALLAHASSEE — Vice President Kamala Harris is coming to Tallahassee Sunday to give a speech commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Roe V. Wade.
Her plane touched down on Saturday evening in Tallahassee and her motorcade traveled from the airport to downtown Tallahassee.
While the White House is being tight-lipped about the event, not saying much beyond that it's happening Sunday, here's what the USA TODAY NETWORK-Florida was able to glean on Friday. But don’t be surprised if some details change over the weekend, particularly because of heavy rain in the forecast.
“When you’re coordinating lots of folks with national advance staff involving security credentials, inclement weather, and other factors, it’s always a moving target," said Leon County Democratic Party Chair Ryan Ray. "We're excited for an impactful event regardless."
The travel plans
On Saturday morning, the White House released logistics of the trip that revealed that Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, would arrive in Tallahassee Saturday afternoon and spend the night before her appearance at the Moon, a popular concert and nightclub venue.
The vice president and her husband were to depart Los Angeles International Airport at 12:55 p.m. ET Saturday and fly to Tallahassee International airport. The rest of her schedule on Saturday was not shared, but on Sunday Harris will "deliver remarks for the 50th commemoration of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision" at 12:10 p.m.
Emhoff visited Tallahassee once before as the "second gentlemen" when he attended a June 2021 roundtable discussion at Neighborhood Medical Center to encourage more people to get a coronavirus vaccine.
Scott Carswell, owner of The Moon, is no stranger to having public officials at his venue, but he says Harris has to be the highest-profile one.
“We've had US senators and governors over here for many, many events, hundreds,” Carswell said. “But this is a different level with a national, currently elected vice president. We've not had that before.”
His club's previous events put him on the radar of White House officials when they were looking for a venue, he says. The Moon also has the perk of being indoors, an important feature considering Sunday’s forecast of storms.
Ray, the Leon Democratic Executive Committee chair, said doors are expected to open at about 10 a.m.
The event could last as long as 1 p.m., according to some organizers.
How to attend
There has been no information released about how interested members of the public can attend the speech at the Moon. However, Planned Parenthood posted to its website that "we've kept the details quite for a while, but we'll be joined by VP Harris" at the "Bigger Than Roe: National Day of Action" abortion rights march, organized by Women's March.
The march's time and location are listed as TBD.
The event is free, but organizers say those who want to attend should sign up on the Planned Parenthood website at https://www.weareplannedparenthood.org/a/tally-rally-roe. The event application doesn’t include much information itself, saying, “More details to come!”
As of Sunday morning, a message flashed on the site that said "Sorry, this event has reached capacity."
While the speech initially was to coincide with the march, ominous weather made plans more tentative. An organizer told the Democrat the rally is going to take place on Apalachee Parkway just outside the Ross shopping center. It is a totally separate event and will happen with whoever comes, weather permitting.
The Tallahassee march is said to be one of hundreds of sister marches taking place in cities around the country.
“Fifty years after the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a radical right-wing movement hijacked our Courts and eliminated federal protections for abortions. But as the fight turns to the States - they are going to learn that the overwhelming majority of Americans in all States support abortion rights - and women will fight to protect our rights and our lives,” said Rachel Carmona, Executive Director of Women’s March, in a prepared statement.
Manwhile, Danielle Thomas with the Northwest Florida Federation of Labor sent out an email blast Thursday afternoon telling Florida AFL-CIO members they had an opportunity to meet Harris at The Moon.
"All persons wishing to attend need to notify the Florida AFL-CIO at firstname.lastname@example.org," she wrote. "Your information will be forwarded to the VP’s Office, and they will contact you for security purposes and other information."
Why Florida and Tallahassee were picked
When asked during a press briefing Thursday about the speech, a White House senior administration official said Florida was picked because it’s “at the forefront of the fight against these efforts to further restrict reproductive freedom.”
“They recently enacted a ban, again, without exceptions,” the official said. “They have threatened to go after providers for simply doing their jobs.”
Last year, Florida’s Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis passed a ban on abortion after 15 weeks. A legal challenge to it is being considered by the state Supreme Court.
While DeSantis has been tight-lipped about any further abortion legislation that might be in the works, Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo has said she would support a 12-week abortion ban once the state Supreme Court weighs in on the latest law.
A spokesperson for DeSantis did not respond to a media request.
Tallahassee road closures
Like other information about the event, officials are being tight-lipped about security measures and possible road closures.
A spokesperson for the Tallahassee Police Department said in a statement that it was working with local, state and federal agencies to “ensure a safe experience for everyone this weekend.”
“Due to security reasons, road closure information will not be available for release at this time,” the spokesperson said.
USA Today Network-Florida government accountability reporter Douglas Soule is based in Tallahassee, Fla. He can be reached at DSoule@gannett.com. Twitter: @DouglasSoule
Contributed: Christopher Cann, Jeff Burlew