Jill Biden to speak in Columbia

Thursday, October 16, 2008 | 11:39 a.m. CDT; updated 2:36 p.m. CDT, Friday, October 17, 2008

Jill Biden, the wife of Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, will travel to Columbia on Friday morning as part of a statewide, three-day campaign tour on behalf of the Obama-Biden ticket.

Jill Biden will speak at Senior Hall on the Historic Quad of Stephens College beginning at 10 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.

It will be a busy weekend for Jill Biden, who also plans stops in St. Peters, St. Louis, Hillsboro, Cape Girardeau, Springfield, Joplin, St. Joseph and Kansas City. She is expected to address the issues that families face in the declining economy.

Chris Mather, Jill Biden's press secretary, said she is coming to Missouri to "spread the word about the Obama-Biden plan."

Mather said Jill Biden thinks a lot of Missourians are suffering and argued that’s a result of failed policies of the Bush administration over the past eight years. Her main objectives on the campaign tour are to listen to people and the stories they tell, and to let people know that her husband and presidential candidate Barack Obama have a plan to fix the economy by creating more jobs, ending the war in Iraq, improving education and affordable health care.

Jill Biden has experience with campaigning. She hit the campaign trail alone when her husband ran for president and when their son, Beau Biden, ran for attorney general in Iowa.

The issue nearest and dearest to Jill Biden's heart is education. She has taught English and remedial reading in public schools and has worked with students with mental illness. She teaches at a community college now. As an educator, she sees the effects of the economy on students, some of whom can't afford to continue their educations, Mather said.

"It's her passion, and her life's work," Mather added.

Biden Breast Health Initiative, which Jill Biden started after a number of her friends were diagnosed with breast cancer, is also very important to her. The program provides information about breast health and early detection to female high school students in Delaware.

She also joined Delaware Boots on the Ground, an organization to help military families, after becoming aware of the struggle military families go through. Beau Biden is a member of the National Guard and was just deployed to Iraq.

Jill Biden also became involved this summer with a program called “Book Buddies," which encourages children to start reading at younger ages and raises money to buy books for low-income children.

No tickets are required for Jill Biden’s Columbia appearance, but the campaign strongly suggests that those who want to attend send an RSVP by visiting Stephens students who need access to Senior Hall are asked to enter from Waugh Street during her visit.


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