PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden came to Hampton Roads on Monday as part of the president’s Getting America Back on Track Tour.
Monday’s visits were focused on highlighting how the legislation will benefit schools, with trips to Yorktown Elementary School and Tidewater Community College in Portsmouth.
Air Force One arrived in Newport News around 10 a.m., and the Bidens were greeted by Gov. Ralph Northam and Virginia First Lady Pam Northam.
The Bidens then visited Yorktown, where Joe Biden also stopped to visit ROTC students at York High School.
The trip affected traffic across the area. Interstate 64 was closed in both directions starting from Exit 255 near Freedom Way to Exit 250 near Fort Eustis Boulevard. A stretch of Route 58 in Chesapeake was also temporarily closed.
10 On Your Side was there in Portsmouth for the president and first lady’s visit.
The president was in Building C on the campus of Tidewater Community Campus.
The Bidens got a tour of an HVAC workshop and TCC officials discussed the importance of community colleges teaching trades.
Skip Krepcik, the head of Tidewater Community College’s HVAC program, said it is a great trade to learn. Krepcik demonstrated how students connect and measure currents through a series of parallel circuits.
Tidewater Community College was chosen as a backdrop for the Biden’s American Jobs Plan, and to highlight the free community college education part of the president’s proposed initiative.
That hit home for state Sen. L. Louise Lucas, (D-Portsmouth), who was one of the invited guests.
“To be able to get at least a two-year college education, a free ride cuts down the cost of them going to the four-year institution, and I think it gives most people who cannot afford to go a leg up,” Lucas said.
Dr. Jill Biden has really adopted the community college path of education as a solution to many problems.
“Community college graduates provide more security for their families. They invest in their local schools and businesses, and they bring needed skills to the workforce, helping us meet the challenges of the 21st century,” she said.
Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover thinks the visit was a home run.
“Free college education in a community college. A lot of education, and we need for them to have access to community college education where they can get the training and the skills that will enable them to make a livable wage. A good-paying job with benefits and health care is huge,” Glover said.
Congressman Bobby Scott (D-Newport News) also joined the Bidens at TCC. He released a statement Monday afternoon emphasizing the American Families Plan.
“It was as honor to join President Biden and Dr. Biden today at Tidewater Community College (TCC). TCC is an example of the role that community colleges can have in expanding opportunities for our students and creating jobs in local economies,” Scott said in the prepared statement.
Separately, but also addressed during the trip, Biden’s American Families Plan will cost $1.8 trillion to increase spending in several areas related to family.
“Providing childcare, early childhood education is so critical that we get our children at the youngest age to be prepared to go to school,” the president said.
Biden is also trying to extend tax credits through 2025.
“That means two parents, two kids, they get a check back from the government for about $7,200 in their pocket, which they are doing now, and that will help you take care of your family,” Biden said.
Biden claims that initiative alone will benefit 65 million children, and that the data shows will cut poverty in half this year.
The real challenge now is for the president to get the American Families Plan and the American Jobs plan through a bitterly divided Congress.