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Inside Beat

Projected new FLOTUS Jill Biden will make history too

Jill Biden is set to become the newest First Lady of the United States, and she will be the first working woman in the White House.  – Photo by Barack Obama / Flickr

After a week-long tumultuous election, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris took the win on Saturday morning. This election made quite a few historic milestones: Joe Biden earned the most votes cast for a candidate in the history of the country and Harris will now become the first woman, and woman of color, to take the oath as vice president.

What many people may not know is that the former Second Lady, Jill Biden, will now serve as the first working First Lady with a full-time job outside the White House. Many have come to love her coordinated outfits and charming presence during the campaign trail. Now, we’ll come to love her as an educator.

Jill Biden is an English professor with four degrees, including a doctorate from the University of Delaware, and has been teaching at community colleges for 30 years.

Throughout her eight years as Second Lady, she taught English at Northern Virginia Community College while supporting Barack and Michelle Obama. Former First Lady Michelle Obama said that Jill Biden often fervently graded papers while traveling.

Jill Biden told Vogue in 2019 that the First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS) can define the role in any way they wish to, which was her approach to her title as Second Lady. As First Lady, you can expect education to be her top priority, along with supporting military families and fueling cancer awareness — she lost her son Beau to cancer in 2015. 

She said she’d travel all over the country pushing for free community college — yet another reason to love her.

Jill Biden echoed her love and passion for her career in the summer by delivering her national convention speech in her old classroom at Brandywine High School in Delaware, where she taught in the 1990s.

"I want people to value teachers and know their contributions and to lift up the profession,” Jill Biden said, according to CBS News.

Whether as the wife of a senator or a Second Lady, Jill Biden has worked to retain a semblance of anonymity as a professor. During classes, she ordered Secret Service agents to dress like college students and seem unassuming in the hallway, and it worked. She even earned her doctorate under her maiden name “Jacobs” to hide her true identity. 

Jill Biden’s humility shines through in her desire to be regarded by her students as professor. She may lose this anonymity as First Lady, but will set an example for working women throughout the country who are balancing multiple roles.

Jill Biden indicated that this has been on her mind back in 1987. Speaking at a First Ladies Forum in Iowa, she explained what type of First Lady people would connect to.

“She should respond to the interests and concerns of today's American women, who are mothers, spouses and wage earners and struggling to balance all three,” Jill Biden said.

Michelle Obama spoke fondly of Biden’s abilities, heart and expected performance as a First Lady.

“Jill (Biden) has always led by example, treating everybody she meets with the sort of genuine warmth and care that sticks with you. She is going to be a terrific First Lady,” Michelle Obama said.

Jill Biden’s devotion to her profession didn’t stop her from supporting her husband’s efforts campaigning for president. She took a leave of absence this year to focus on the campaign, speaking buoyantly at rallies, attending fundraisers and offering support at highly contentious debates.

For the past four years, the current administration has shown little care to the platform of education, hiring private-school pawn Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education and cutting the education budget. Expect to see a return to reverence for teachers and concern for ensuring affordable and quality education for students across the country.

Jill Biden is clearly a force to be reckoned with and has the experience and ardor to rise up to the challenge. Come January, call her Professor FLOTUS.

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