Speaker: Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. L’68
Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was born November 20, 1942, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the first of four siblings. In 1953, the Biden family moved from Pennsylvania to Claymont, Delaware. He graduated from the University of Delaware and Syracuse Law School and served on the New Castle County Council. Then, at age 29, he became one of the youngest people ever elected to the United States Senate.
Just weeks after the election, tragedy struck the Biden family when Biden’s wife, Neilia and their one-year-old daughter, Naomi, were killed and their two young sons critically injured in an auto accident. Vice President Biden was sworn in to the U.S. Senate at his sons’ hospital bedside and began commuting to Washington every day by train, a practice he maintained throughout his career in the Senate.
In 1977, Vice President Biden married Jill Jacobs. Jill Biden, who holds a Ph.D. in Education, is a life-long educator and currently teaches at a community college in Northern Virginia. The Vice President’s son, Beau (1969-2015), was Delaware’s Attorney General from 2007-2015 and a Major in the 261st Signal Brigade of the Delaware National Guard. He was deployed to Iraq in 2008-2009. The Vice President’s other son, Hunter, is an attorney who manages a private equity firm in Washington, D.C. and is Chairman of the World Food Program USA. And his daughter Ashley is a social worker and is Executive Director of the Delaware Center for Justice. Vice President Biden has five grandchildren: Naomi, Finnegan, Roberta Mabel (“Maisy”), Natalie, and Robert Hunter.
As a Senator from Delaware for 36 years, Vice President Biden established himself as a leader in facing some of our nation’s most important domestic and international challenges. As Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee for 17 years, then-Senator Biden was widely recognized for his work on criminal justice issues, including the landmark 1994 Crime Law and the Violence Against Women Act. As Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for 12 years, then-Senator Biden played a pivotal role in shaping U.S. foreign policy. He has been at the forefront of issues and legislation related to terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, post-Cold War Europe, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia.
Now, as the 47th Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden has continued his leadership on important issues facing the nation. The Vice President was tasked with implementing and overseeing the $840 billion stimulus package in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which has helped to rebuild our economy and lay the foundation for a sustainable economic future. The Vice President also leads the Ready to Work Initiative, the Administration’s key effort to identify opportunities to improve our nation’s workforce skills and training systems to help better prepare American workers for the jobs of a 21st century economy.
The Vice President has continued to draw upon his years in the United States Senate to work with Congress on key issues including the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. As a longtime advocate against sexual assault and domestic violence, the Vice President appointed the first-ever White House Advisor on Violence Against Women. The Vice President has also been tasked with convening sessions of the President’s Cabinet and leading interagency efforts, particularly to reduce gun violence and raise the living standards of middle class Americans in his role as Chair of the Middle Class Task Force. Vice President Biden has traveled to 48 states as part of the Administration’s continuing efforts to focus key priorities such as college affordability and American manufacturing growth.
With decades of foreign policy experience in the United States Senate, include serving as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Vice President Biden advises President Obama on international issues. The Vice President has been a leading architect of the U.S. strategic vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace. During his time in the Senate, the Vice President led the effort to enlarge NATO to include the former Warsaw Pact countries of Eastern and Central Europe after the collapse of the Iron Curtain. The Vice President’s speech at the Munich Security Conference in February 2015 laid out a vision for how to revitalize NATO, strengthen democratic institutions in Europe, prioritize investments to bolster energy security, and grow trade and investment ties across the Atlantic. The Vice President has been leading the administration’s effort to support a sovereign, democratic Ukraine, visiting the country three times in 2014. In the Middle East, the Vice President has been deeply involved in shaping U.S. policy toward Iraq, visiting the country several times. He has met with the leaders from around the Middle East and has championed Israel’s security. The Vice President has also played an active role in supporting the Administration’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. He has developed deep relationships with the region’s leaders, demonstrating U.S. commitment to high-level, face-to-face diplomacy. Vice President Biden is the Administration’s point person for diplomacy within the Western Hemisphere. He has worked to realize his vision of a Hemisphere that is “middle class, secure, and democratic, from Canada to Chile and everywhere in between.” In this capacity, the Vice President has led the Administration’s regional efforts to address economic, social, governance, and citizen security challenges.
Vice President Biden has represented our country in every region of the world, traveling to more than two dozen countries including: Afghanistan, Belgium, Brazil, China, Colombia, Egypt, Germany, Guatemala, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, and Ukraine.