Dr. Jill Biden

Dr. Jill Biden speaks at Oskaloosa’s Smokey Row on Monday, Jan. 20.

OSKALOOSA – On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Oskaloosa received a visit from former Second Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden.

Dr. Biden spoke to a crowd of approximately 20 people about service. She opened her speech with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in recognition of his holiday.

“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love and you can be that servant.”

Dr. Biden went on to introduce herself, speak about her faith, living out her dream life and why her husband, former Vice President Joe Biden is the best candidate for president of the United States, referring to him as a “Commander in Chief you can trust.”

“A leader who brings people together; a president that you can feel proud of; who believes that our best days are ahead of us. That’s my husband, Joe Biden,” she said.

With just under two weeks until the Iowa Democratic Caucus, there were still many voters present that were on the fence about who they would caucus for. Dr. Biden took the time to address those voters directly by telling them that there are three this that Joe Biden has that no other candidate has.

“Number one, Independent voters. Joe appeals to Independents,” she said. “No Democrat can win without the Independent voter and a lot of voters still haven’t made up their minds. Number two, swing states. The polls show Joe beating Donald Trump in the swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida. So just look at the national polls he’s the only one who is beating Donald Trump. Number three is achievability. His ideas are bold and progressive, but they’re also achievable. He knows how he’s going to pay for thing, he’s not just gonna say oh we’re gonna do this and we’ll figure it out later. He has a strategy and a plan in place.”

After her speech, Dr. Biden took pictures with the event attendees before sitting down with The Herald to answer a few questions.

Dr. Biden was asked if her husband gets elected as President of the United States, what could we expect from her as First Lady.

“Michelle Obama and I started our Joining Forces where we heard from military families how we could help them in the areas of health education and employment. I will continue that, I’ll pick it right up and continue with that to give helps military families. I have such a love of community colleges and education for all, so I will work for that,” she said. “The other thing that Joe and I did, President Obama tasked Joe with the Cancer Moonshot. Bringing the federal agencies together to work on cancer. When we got out, we continued with our Biden cancer initiative, so we’ll continue that, because it’s not a Republican issue, it’s not a Democratic issue, it’s an American issue, it’s a human issue. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a family member who suffers from cancer or they themselves have cancer and we have to work to change the face of cancer as we know it.”

Dr. Biden said she hopes that she has played some form of influence in Biden policies on Education as she has been teaching for 35 of the 42 years that they have been married. Dr. Biden has her husband has hearing stories from her classrooms each day and when he came to her with his policy, she worked to make sure that it was teacher-centered.

“I wanted to make sure that it was teacher-centered, that the teachers were given a voice to what they wanted and that someone wasn’t speaking down to the teachers,” she said. “It’s teachers saying, ‘this is who we are, this is what we need’ and that’s what Joe’s plan includes.”

In rural and urban areas alike, resources are hard to come by for educators. Dr. Biden says they plan to combat this by creating a better quality in education, beginning with Pre-K.

“We’re going to create a quality in education is to give every child universal pre-K so they all get a good foundation, and then build on that foundation. And that’s why the resources are going into tripling the resources for Title One schools and bringing doubling the number of counselors and psychologists, because all schools need mental health help. These kids are coming in with poverty and food insecurity and domestic violence, the teachers need help; the kids need help. We have to help people in rural America, as well as urban America I mean, and that’s why Joe’s education plan is for all Americans – all Americans.”

As of Monday, Joe Biden was back leading in the polls after dropping down to Bernie Sanders for a short period at the beginning of the year. Dr. Biden accredited the ranking to Iowans that recognize Joe Biden as a leader with resilience and strong character.

“I’m glad that more and more Iowans are recognizing what I’ve always seen in Joe, and that is he’s a leader,” she said. “He has a strong character, he’s resilient, he has experience. The biggest thing that I feel like he has is empathy. He knows what people are going through. His dad had to move because they couldn’t find a job when he was a little boy, so he knows what it’s like when parents don’t have work. He knows what it’s like when a parent cannot pay for education like his dad couldn’t. He knows what it’s like for people who have lost family members to disease like we lost our son Bo. He empathizes with people. I think people see that, I think people see his heart and I think that matters to people that he can heal this nation.”

Tiffany McDaniel can be reached by phone at (641) 660–9659, by email at tmcdaniel@oskyherald.com or on Twitter @tmcdaniel_osky.

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