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Dr. Jill Biden stumps for her husband in Charles City

  • Dr. Jill Biden, the former “second lady,” made an appearance at the Pub On The Cedar in Charles City Wednesday afternoon on behalf of her husband, former vice-president Joe Biden, and encouraged about 20 people who came to listen to her to caucus for Joe Biden. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • Dr. Jill Biden, the former “second lady,” made an appearance at the Pub On The Cedar in Charles City Wednesday afternoon on behalf of her husband, former vice-president Joe Biden, and encouraged about 20 people who came to listen to her to caucus for Joe Biden. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • Dr. Jill Biden, the former “second lady,” made an appearance at the Pub On The Cedar in Charles City Wednesday afternoon on behalf of her husband, former vice-president Joe Biden, and encouraged about 20 people who came to listen to her to caucus for Joe Biden. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • Dr. Jill Biden, the former “second lady,” made an appearance at the Pub On The Cedar in Charles City Wednesday afternoon on behalf of her husband, former vice-president Joe Biden, and encouraged about 20 people who came to listen to her to caucus for Joe Biden. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • Dr. Jill Biden, the former “second lady,” made an appearance at the Pub On The Cedar in Charles City Wednesday afternoon on behalf of her husband, former vice-president Joe Biden, and encouraged about 20 people who came to listen to her to caucus for Joe Biden. (Press photo James Grob.)

By James Grob, jgrob@charlescitypress.com

Jill Biden, the former “second lady,” made an appearance at the Pub On The Cedar in Charles City Wednesday afternoon on behalf of her husband, former Vice-President Joe Biden.

Jill Biden encouraged about 20 people who came to listen to her to caucus for Joe Biden, and pointed to his electability and what she called “achievability.”

“He can get the support of independents,” she said. “Joe’s a moderate, and no Democrat can win without the support of independent voters.”

She also pointed out that Biden is leading in the polls in swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida.

“No candidate is beating Donald Trump in those states, except for Joe,” she said. “Joe’s plans are practical, and he knows how we’re going to pay for them. They’re pragmatic, and not too far out there, and they’re achievable.”

Most recent polls show Joe Biden leading nationwide among the several candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for president. Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses take place on Monday, Feb. 3. Most polls of Iowa Democratic voters show Biden among the top four preferred candidates in the state, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

“We need a president who can heal this nation,” Biden said. “I think, with what we’ve been through, one of Joe’s strengths as a human being is empathy, because he’s lived it.”

She pointed to the family tragedies Joe Biden has gone through in his life. In 1972, Joe Biden’s first wife and their baby daughter were killed in a car accident. In 2015, his son Beau — who had survived the crash — died of a rare strain of brain cancer.

“He’s suffered through loss and tragedy,” Jill Biden said. “People know he understands their pain, and I think that’s a real important part of who the next president has to be, because God knows this president has no feeling for anybody else. None.”

Teresa Otto of Charles City said she was pleased to get the opportunity to meet Jill Biden.

“I’m glad that she was able to take the time to visit us,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to meet her.”

Otto said she was already supporting Biden as a candidate before Jill Biden made an appearance in Charles City. She cited Biden’s experience as the main reason she favored him.

“I’ve listened to everybody else — we’ve got the health care there, we just have to build on it,” Otto said. “He knows how to work with other people, and I just don’t see anybody better.”

Born in New Jersey, Jill Biden has a bachelor’s degree and doctoral degree from the University of Delaware and masters degrees from West Chester and Villanova. She taught English and reading in high schools for 13 years, and also taught adolescents with emotional disabilities at a psychiatric hospital.

Since 2009, she has been a professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College and is thought to be the first second lady to hold a paying job while her husband was vice president.

She told the audience on Wednesday that Joe Biden’s education plan is “teacher approved, because every single piece of it I’ve gone through to see if he’s heard teachers loud and clear, and that’s what he did.”

She said that Joe’s plan includes raising the salaries of teachers nationwide by tripling the funds for Title I schools — that is, schools with large concentrations of low-income students that receive federal supplemental aid.

“All of you teachers know that our students trust us, they depend on us, they rely on us,” she said. “Teachers need more pay. They need more resources. Joe’s education plan will start and end with teachers.”

Biden took questions from the group regarding health care, the environment, foreign policy and the ongoing impeachment hearings in the U.S. Senate.

“I think the House did the right thing to vote for impeachment. When it comes to the Senate — I don’t know,” Jill Biden said. “This isn’t like the Republican Party we used to know. They don’t have the backbone to stand up and say what Donald Trump did was wrong. Even if they don’t vote for impeachment, they could at least admit it was wrong.”

When asked if Biden would serve just one term as president, she said that there was no truth to the rumors that Biden would just serve one term and not run for re-election. When asked who Joe Biden would choose as a vice-president, Jill said she didn’t know, and said it would be presumptuous to have a running mate chosen before Biden was even the nominee.

She said that Joe Biden would build on the successes of what’s become known as Obamacare, and offer a public option rather than “Medicare-for-all.”

“Joe wants to build on the Affordable Care Act, take out what didn’t work, build on what did work, and offer a public option,” she said. “He also wants to work with prescription drug companies to bring down the price of prescription drugs.”

Regarding foreign policy, Jill Biden said that there was “no one better” on foreign policy, and mentioned that Joe Biden was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and as vice-president, he led a lot of foreign policy initiatives.

“Foreign policy is Joe’s forte,” she said. “He has experience and he is respected around the world. He knows everyone, so on day one, he walks into the office ready to go.”

Regarding the environment, she said that Joe Biden would sign the Paris international environmental agreement, and bring other nations along with the United States.

“It starts with leadership at the top, with someone who makes the environment a priority, and Joe Biden will do that,” she said.

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