Jill Biden will make a great first lady

American educators and military families now have an advocate in the White House.

Evana Upshaw and Addison Freiheit

A new presidency does not only mean someone different will be running the country for the next four years—it also thrusts an entirely new family into the spotlight. Managing the White House is a family affair, and the nation can usually expect the president’s spouse to play a significant role. Jill Biden, with her Ph.D. in education, will be no exception. 

Having been the second lady for eight years during the Obama administration, she is familiar with the ins and outs of life in Washington and having a position of influence. With her experience in education,  working with people in the military and promoting cancer research, she is posed to be a solid and successful first lady.

HER LIFE SO FAR AS FLOTUS

The Biden administration is coming to power in the middle of a global health crisis, so the majority of their first 16 days in office have been overshadowed by responding to the pandemic. In an effort to convince the approximately 53% of military families that do not plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine to get vaccinated, Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci hosted a virtual town hall meeting. Their goal was to meet the families where they were by answering questions and giving current information. Her heart for the well-being of military families has taken a new form as she advocates for keeping their communities safe.

As a mom with a full-time job, Biden has also spoken on the reality of parenting during the pandemic. “You’re not failing. You’re strong. You’re resilient. And you’re doing your best to carry your family through one of the most difficult times in memory,” Biden said in a Parents magazine interview

Biden is showing us early on where her focus will be, which is very relevant for the average American family right now.

PRE-FLOTUS WORK

Biden has a PhD. in education and is the first FLOTUS to work a paying job while in her position. She is committed to being a college professor at Northern Virginia Community College because she loves what she does. She has been an educator for over 30 years, teaching at the high school and college levels. She has created and maintained her own path outside of her husband’s career, which is very encouraging for women who have successful husbands. 

Biden’s advocacy for military families is inspired by her personal experience as the daughter of a Navy Signalman and mother of Major Beau Biden, who was a soldier in the Delaware Army National Guard. During her time as second lady, Biden worked with then-FLOTUS Michelle Obama to create Joining Forces. The initiative aimed to support military troops, veterans and their families in their careers, education and mental health.  

“We only have one truly sacred obligation—to properly prepare and equip our troops when we send them into harm’s way, and to care for them and their families both while deployed and when they return home,” Biden said during a conference of the nonprofit Military Child Education Coalition

Biden’s focus on military children also encouraged her to write a children’s book, “Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops.” The book, told from the perspective of her granddaughter, depicts life as a girl whose father is deployed across the world. Biden’s personal investment in education and military personnel will make her a supporter of educators and military families during her time as FLOTUS. 

WHAT COMES NEXT

On Jan. 14, Biden named Rory Brosius, who had previously served as deputy director of Joining Forces, as an executive of the program. Biden and Brosius described their next steps with Joining Forces as building on what they learned during their time under the Obama administration. Biden is dedicated to listening to and learning from military families, so Joining Forces can appropriately provide what is needed. 

Her open ear and compassion are especially attuned to educators and students during the global pandemic. Michelle Ruiz from Vogue describes Biden as “a woman who understood the urgency and the sadness, someone who cared as much about sending children back to school as reopening restaurants and bars and hair salons.” And her intent to continue to teach at Northern Virginia Community College while being FLOTUS proves her love for teaching and her students. 

WALKING FORWARD WITH COMPASSION

Biden’s life is a reflection of her words at the Democratic National Convention; “How do you make a broken family whole?” Biden asked. “The same way you make a nation whole: with love and understanding and with small acts of kindness.” If Biden continues to live out this love, Americans can look forward to having a FLOTUS who values family, education and the sacrifices of military personnel. 

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