In January 20th, 2021, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. A man who spent nearly a half-century in public service as a senator and vice president, Biden promises to restore the United States’ leadership in the world and unify a country divided by political ideologies and social differences.
But who’s the man who won more than 80 million votes in the largest total voter turnout in the U.S. history?
Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on November 20th, 1942. In 1953, the Biden family moved to Claymont, Delaware. President Biden graduated from the
University of Delaware and Syracuse Law School and served on the New Castle County Council.
At age 29, President Biden became one of the youngest people ever elected to the United States Senate. Just weeks after his Senate election, tragedy struck the Biden family when his wife Neilia and daughter Naomi were killed, and sons Hunter and Beau were critically injured, in an auto accident.
Biden was sworn into the U.S. Senate at his sons’ hospital bedsides and began commuting from Wilmington to Washington every day, first by car, and then by train, in order to be with his family. He would continue to do so throughout his time in the Senate.
Biden married Jill Jacobs in 1977, and in 1980, their family was complete with the birth of Ashley Blazer Biden. A lifelong educator, Jill earned her doctorate in education and returned to teaching as an English professor at a community college in Virginia.
Beau Biden, Attorney General of Delaware and Joe Biden’s eldest son, passed away in 2015 after battling brain cancer.
A Leader in the Senate
As a Senator from Delaware for 36 years, 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 16 years, Biden is widely recognized for his work writing and spearheading the Violence Against Women Act — the landmark legislation that strengthens penalties for violence against women, creates unprecedented resources for survivors of assault, and changes the national dialogue on domestic and sexual assault.
As Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for 12 years, Biden played a pivotal role in shaping U.S. foreign policy. He was at the forefront of issues and legislation related to terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, post-Cold War Europe, the Middle East, Southwest Asia, and ending apartheid.
The 47th Vice President of the U.S.
As Vice President, Biden continued his leadership on important issues facing the nation and represented the country abroad. Vice President Biden convened sessions of the President’s Cabinet, led interagency efforts, and worked with Congress in his fight to raise the living standards of middle-class Americans, reduce gun violence, address violence against women, and end cancer as we know it.
Biden helped President Obama pass and then oversaw the implementation of the Recovery Act – the biggest economic recovery plan in the history of the nation and the biggest and
strongest commitment to clean energy. The President’s plan prevented another Great Depression, created and saved millions of jobs, and led to 75 uninterrupted months of job growth by the end of the administration.
President Obama and Vice President Biden also secured the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which reduced the number of uninsured Americans by 20 million by the time they left office and banned insurance companies from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
In a ceremony at the White House, President Obama awarded Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction – the nation’s highest civilian honor.
A New Chapter
After leaving the White House, the Bidens continued their efforts to expand opportunity for every American with the creation of the Biden Foundation, the Biden Cancer Initiative, the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, and the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware.
On April 25th, 2019, Biden announced his candidacy for President of the United States. Biden’s candidacy was built from the beginning around 3 pillars: the battle for the soul of our nation, the need to rebuild our middle class – the backbone of our country, and a call for unity, to act as One America. It was a message that would only gain more resonance in 2020 as we confronted a pandemic, an economic crisis, urgent calls for racial justice, and the existential threat of climate change.