Lilia Dergacheva. Sputnik International
Joe Biden’s wife, the mother of his daughter and step-mother of his two sons, has been vehemently supporting the Democratic presidential candidate during his 2020 campaign, standing by his side during rallies, as well as throwing fundraisers and other events.
“For all of you out there across the country, just think of your favourite educator who gave you the confidence to believe in yourself. That’s the kind of first lady… Jill Biden will be”, Joe Biden said, singing praise to his wife after he was officially announced as the Democratic presidential nominee at the party’s convention on Tuesday.
REUTERS / POOL
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden speak from Brandywine High School, where she taught English from 1991 to 1993, during the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention as participants from across the country are hosted over video links from the originally planned site of the convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. August 18, 2020.
So, what do we know about the woman who could move into the White House should her husband be elected in November?
- Jill was born in New Jersey in 1951 but grew up in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. She has brought up her roots a number of times while on the campaign trail, which she has been active on, tweeting earlier this week that she’ll “always be that girl from Philly”.
- She has been an English teacher for the lion’s share of her life. Prior to moving to Washington, DC, she taught at a community college in the US state of Delaware, at a public high school, and at a psychiatric hospital for teenagers. It was an empty classroom at Delaware Brandywine High School from where she delivered her address during the convention.
- Jill is nine years younger than her husband, whom she started dating when in college while Mr Biden was already a senator. By that time, he had suffered the loss of his first wife and his one-year-old daughter in a terrible car accident, which his sons Beau and Hunter had both survived in.
- Jill shared that Joe had proposed to her five times before she finally accepted. “I couldn’t have them [Joe’s children] lose another mother. So I had to be 100% sure”, she explained. In 1981, their daughter Ashley was born.
- While her husband served as vice president from 2009 to 2017, Jill, who held the title of second lady, doubled as a professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College: “Teaching is not what I do. It’s who I am”, she posted before her Tuesday address.
- She has a bachelor’s degree as well as two master’s degrees, and received a doctorate of education from the University of Delaware in 2007.
- Active in social and educational campaigning at the time, she also launched the Joining Forces initiative with Michelle Obama, which focused on helping military veterans and their families to access education programmes and enjoy better employment.
- Dr Biden recently told CBS News that she would eagerly continue teaching if she becomes first lady. “I hope so. I would love to. If we get to the White House, I’m gonna continue to teach. It’s important, and I want people to value teachers and know their contributions, and lift up the profession”, she shared.