Excerpt from Article by By Bill Rettew, published in the Daily Local News, 10/16/2017 — MENDENHALL > Former Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden encouraged women to become more involved in politics during Sunday’s Chester County Democratic Women’s Leadership Initiative Fall Gala at the Mendenhall Inn.
The audience of about 250 collectively groaned when Biden mentioned the changes in Washington since her husband Joe Biden and Barack Obama stopped running the country. “It’s been a tough year, hasn’t it?” she asked. She praised the previous administration for enacting the Affordable Care Act. She said that 20 million Americans receive health care through the ACA who wouldn’t have it otherwise. “We know the program is working,” she said.“Because of it, people are alive today,” Biden said.The former second lady also railed against sexual assault. Rules concerning immigration are changing. Dreamers are being “pushed back into the shadows,” she said. The former second lady said she sees students who didn’t know they weren’t citizens until they filled out paperwork for college admissions. “Some are scared to come back to school,” she said. She also noted the “senseless” tragedies in Charlottesville and Las Vegas. “How long will we allow gun violence to tear families apart?” she asked. The former second lady talked about a day when her father needed to co-sign for her to receive a car loan. And as a teacher, a principal made her promise to not become pregnant. “We fought for a voice and a seat at the table,” she said. “We are our sisters’ keepers,” Biden spoke directly to the audience composed mostly of women. “We all have a calling to make a difference wherever we can,” she said. “We must work hard to get them elected, and now that work is more important than ever. “In Chester County, you’re doing a pretty good job of it.” Biden talked about grassroots campaigning. She praised the “teachers, accountants and grocery clerks who took time out of their day to go to that shabby room with stale pizza and call strangers.” During her husband’s tenure as vice president, Biden taught English at Northern Virginia Community College, where she continues to teach.
She was raised in Willow Grove and graduated from both Upper Merion High School and West Chester University. “I’ll always be a Pennsylvania girl,” she said. Prior to meeting her husband, she had little interest in politics. Biden was more interested in the Phillies and Flyers. She was “a child of the 60s” with hair hanging to her waist. “Thank God I had voted for him in the election,” she said about the former vice president and Delaware senator. The future second lady then received a “crash course” in what it takes to run a Senate office.
CCDWLI Chair and Co-founder Michele Vaughn talked about Biden’s visit Monday morning. “Last night’s CCDWLI Fall Gala, with former Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden, was our largest and most successful event to date,” Vaughn said. “As Dr. Biden noted during her remarks, we not only had a large crowd, but the energy in the room was palpable.
“The success of the event highlights our success and growth as an organization. As of now, the CCDWLI is the largest chapter of the PA Federation of Democratic Women in the state. We are proud of our success, proud of last night’s event and pleased to provide meaningful support to Democratic candidates for elected office.”