Senator Joe Biden (D) - Background Information

Published: Mar. 6, 2007 at 6:10 PM EST|Updated: Aug. 23, 2008 at 5:25 PM EDT
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Senator Joe Biden (D)
Senator Joe Biden (D)

Senator Joe Biden's Background Information:

"I know what defines an American from the neighborhood I was raised in, the influence of my faith, and my life experiences."

Joe Biden was born November 20, 1942,in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the first of four siblings in an Irish-Catholic family. The family later moved to a middle-class neighborhood in Delaware. His father was a car salesman, and together with his mother, they worked hard to teach their children to stand up for what matters most.

Joe graduated from The University of Delaware and Syracuse Law School and served on the New Castle County Council. Then, at age 29, against almost impossible odds, he became one of the youngest people ever elected to the United States Senate, beating an incumbent Republican.

He never forgot where he came from. While most Senators live in Washington, he commutes home every night using public transportation to be with his wife of almost 30 years, Jill, a school teacher, and his now 89-year-old mother.

They have three children - Beau, Hunter, and Ashley - and five grandchildren.

"Like every American, I have had my share of loss and pain and trial, but they have helped me learn about so many incredibly decent Americans who came to my aide."

Today Joe Biden often quotes poetry on the Senate floor. He picked up the skill as a way to stop a debilitating stutter he had as a child. He would stand in front of a mirror for hours reciting poems to relax his muscles and gain confidence to be able to speak.

Right after being elected to the Senate in 1972, his first wife and daughter were killed in a car accident. People rallied around him, and for the next five years, he raised his two sons as a single parent, never forgetting family comes first, and gaining a genuine appreciation for single parents who get up everyday, put one foot in front of the other, and make their families work.

"I truly believe the American public is waiting for leaders to come along who have the experience to say what they will do to restore America's leadership in the world."

For three decades, Joe Biden has served on the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, becoming its Chairman in January. He immediately began holding high-profile hearings on Iraq, and the Committee passed a resolution to stop George Bush from sending more American troops to Baghdad's bloody civil war.

He has been the Democrat's leading voice against the Administration's handling of the war, and is the only Presidential candidate to issue a plan for bringing home America's troops, without leaving chaos behind in Iraq. He is respected at home and abroad for his well-informed and common sense approach to the complexities of American foreign policy.

"What I'm most proud of in my entire career was writing the Violence Against Women's Act because it is evidence we can change people's lives, but the change is always one person at a time."

In 1994, he authored the landmark legislation that helped set up shelters and a national hotline where women who are abused by husbands or boyfriends can get help. It also increased the court system's abilities to protect women who are being stalked.

Joe believes violence against women is the ugliest and cruelest crime there is, and the legislation has given hundreds of thousands of women a second chance and a way out. Since it passed, both domestic violence and incidents of rape are significantly down nationwide.

"No civil right is of value to Americans if their streets are not safe, if they cannot send their kids safely to school, if they are unable to walk out of their house in their neighborhood."

For two decades, Joe Biden has been instrumental in crafting many of America's most important crime laws. In 1994, the Biden Crime Law put more than 100,000 cops on America's streets, and crime went down eight years in a row. The law requires communities to be notified when convicted sex offenders move into a neighborhood.

But after President Bush started slashing billions of dollars from federal crime-prevention assistance for state and local law enforcement, crime started going up again. Joe wants to add 50,000 new local cops and 1,000 FBI agents to focus on local crimes.

"The next Democratic leader, and this is what the presidential election is all about, has to challenge the American people, tell them the truth, and trust them."

Joe Biden thinks the Democratic party has become too timid. Every time this nation has moved forward in a significant way, it has been in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy or a national crisis.

He thinks there are practical answers, but Democrats have to trust and respect the American people more than we do now. As a Presidential candidate, count on him to say boldly how he will restore the middle class and America's standing in the world.

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