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Jill Biden

Wife of Vice President Joseph Biden and Second Lady (since January 2009)

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Why She Matters

When Jill Biden sees a problem, she fixes it.

In 1993, spurred by the loss of a friend to breast cancer, she started the Biden Breast Health Initiative, an organization that teaches high school-age women ways to protect against the disease. After Hurricane Katrina, Jill Biden collected a truck of books to donate to a New Orleans school.

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At a Glance

  • Career History: Delaware Technical and Community College, professor
  • Birthday: June 5, 1951
  • Hometown: Hammonton, N.J.
  • Alma Mater: University of Delaware, BA, 1976; West Chester University, M. Ed., 1981; Villanova University, MA, 1987; University of Delaware, D. Ed., 2008
  • Spouse: Joe Biden
  • Religion: Presbyterian
 

Path to Power

Jill Jacobs was born in Hammonton, N.J., the oldest of five sisters. She grew up in Montgomery County, Pa., where her father was a banker and her mother stayed home.

She spent much of her time in high school planning dances and working - she accepted her first job at age 15 because she said she wanted her own money.

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The Issues

Jill Biden is involved in a variety of issues from improving literacy to increasing breast cancer awareness. Her advocacy work has always focused on pragmatic solutions that will quickly improve the quality of life for recipients.

In an interview with Time magazine, she said her role model was Eleanor Roosevelt, a "true humanitarian and champion of Women's Rights and Civil Rights." She imagined adopting a similarly activist role as the wife of a White House official. "For years, Joe has had to listen to me go on about the problems in our education system," she said. "I don't see how him becoming President would change that."

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The Network

The Bidens are not part of D.C.'s inner circle - they have never lived in Washington and rarely attended Embassy dinners or Kennedy Center functions. Instead, Jill Biden has remained close to Biden's sister, Valerie Biden Owens, as well as many longtime aides to the Senator who now have jobs in the White House. These veteran staffers include Ted Kaufman, who will take Biden's old Senate seat; Mark Gitenstein, who is now leading Biden's White House transition effort, Ron Klain, Biden's new chief of staff, and Thomas E. Donilon, Biden's new White counselor.

Jill Biden and Michelle Obama hit it off immediately, and stayed in touch throughout the campaign.

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