Jill Biden visits Hampton Roads to meet with educators, military families


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Dr. Jill Biden was in Hampton Roads on Thursday to meet with education leaders and military families.

Jill Biden first joined Del. Jeion Ward, Virginia Education Association President Dr. James Fedderman, and other leading African American educators in a listening session on the Peninsula.

She then met with military families at a private home in Norfolk in the afternoon. She was scheduled to go to an early voting site on Richmond and a roundtable with working mothers in Henrico County later in the day.

During her trip to Hampton Roads, Jill Biden entered the backyard of Fort Monroe’s historic commanding general’s residence ready to talk education. 

Her opening remarks centered on her husband’s education policies.

“This crisis has shown us the deep inequity in our system especially for children of color and low-income communities. Many lack the technology including broad access to broadband.” 

“Broadband” is James Fedderman’s concern living on the Eastern Shore.  It is clear COVID-19 has unmasked Virginia’s broadband limitations.

“It has amplified broadband is a major issue, and I don’t know what happened to the signal once you get to the Eastern Shore and Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel where I live on the Eastern Shore. It just doesn’t travel over water very well.” 

Biden jumped on that.

“We have seen the inequities in the system and that’s why [Joe Biden] called his plan ‘Build Back Better.’ We have to fix so many things.” 

She spoke about Joe Biden’s plan to expand pre-school education.

“We need quality and free preschool and we need to expand that in the community.  And we need free community college education for two years.” 

Hampton Teacher Janez Joyner Pace told Jill Biden how virtual learning is bringing teachers into the home. One of her students suddenly disappeared from the screen one day because the police were at the door.

“So, what I did in the chat room, I’m trying to reassure my student everything’s going to be OK. I write is everything OK? Now, here is the thing, he did share everything was OK, and the police were there for another member of the family.” 

Education was on the mind of military families later in the day at a private home gathering in Norfolk.   

Air Force Spouse Lindsey Puckett met Jill Biden briefly.

“Here’s my issue… We might run into a six-month wait for childcare. It’s hard and you’re expected to be at work and you have to work around that, so a lot of spouses end up not working because there’s no childcare available for their children.” 

At the end of the roundtable, 10 On Your Side asked Jill Biden a question about these education issues not being new; they were around when former President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden served in the White House from 2008 to 2016.  

Jill Biden’s staff tried to stop the question from the reporter by approaching from the right and putting music on.

Jill Biden’s response: “Joe Biden is coming Nov. 3.” 

She mentioned Joe Biden winning four times during her trip to Hampton Roads.

“I want you to know … when Joe takes the Oath of Office in January, a teacher will be standing by his side… You will have a teacher in the White House,” she told the gathering at Fort Monroe. 

Biden’s visit comes a day ahead of President Trump’s visit to Newport News. That rally is scheduled for 9 p.m. Friday.

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