First Lady Jill Biden headlined a fundraising event on Sunday night for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) hosted by Jonathan Soros at an apartment in a pre-war condominium building overlooking Central Park in New York City.

After a brief meet-and-greet to take pictures with the 35 or so attendees, Dr. Biden was introduced to the donors by Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Democratic majority leader of the New York State Senate, who is also the chair of the DLCC.

Ms. Stewart-Cousins credited the DLCC for helping Democrats recapture full control of the State Senate in 2018, allowing the party to enact a bevy of long-stalled Democratic priorities in Albany, including legislation around voting rights, reproductive health and gun safety.

She then addressed the first lady directly: “Dr. Biden, I know you’ve been going around the country helping every way you can.”

“We know what a champion you are for all of his work and family,” Ms. Stewart-Cousins said. “And we know that you know that the difference between holding on to our democracy is going to be in the hands of the states and state legislatures.”

Dr. Biden began her brief remarks to guests gathered in the living room by talking about how politics had not played a major role in her upbringing, which she said was largely defined by her father’s service in the Navy, her role as the eldest of five daughters and the Philadelphia Phillies, which are in the World Series this year.

“I knew that my parents, I hate to say it, they voted Republican, but they didn’t talk about it at the dinner table,” she said. “Instead, they talked about my dad’s job at the bank, about my grandparents’ health and about the education that they wanted for me and for my four sisters. And so I bet a lot of your lives are very typical like that, too. Right? We just sit down and we talk about family, mostly.”

She continued: “So, when I met Joe, I felt a little out of touch with his world in Washington, DC. And on our first day, I remember thinking, thank God I voted for him. Now, that was a long time ago, but for most Americans things aren’t much different today.”

She said that in traveling to almost 40 states as the First Lady, she realized that the one goal that unites Americans was, “the chance to work hard and build a better life for their families.” That goal, she said, was being undermined “when extremists go after the rights that most Americans support,” including the right to choose, access to affordable prescription drugs and clean energy.

Dr. Biden then shared a personal story she had recounted to guests at another fundraiser earlier in the day in Westchester.

When Dr. Biden was 17, she said that a friend of hers got pregnant. It was the 1960s — years before Roe v. Wade protected the right to an abortion at a national level — and abortions were illegal in Pennsylvania. Her friend, she said, told her that she would need to get “a psychiatric evaluation declaring her mentally unfit before the doctor would perform the procedure to end her pregnancy.”

First Lady Biden, who said she cried on the drive back after visiting her friend in the hospital, said her friend couldn’t go back home after being discharged.

“And so I gathered my courage and asked my mom, ‘Mom, can she come stay with us?” she said. “And my mother didn’t hesitate.” 

“My mom never told a soul. And in fact, my mother and I never spoke about it again. Secrecy, shame, silence, danger. Even death. That’s what that time defined for so many women. So I was shocked when the Dobb’s decision came out. For me, I felt it was devastating. You know, how could we go back to those times?”

She then tied her anecdote back to the purpose of the gathering: to raise money to support Democrats defend their majorities and make inroads in statehouses across the country, including in Colorado, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, among others.

State legislators, Dr. Biden said, “make some of the most important decisions that affect people’s lives, from protecting a woman’s right to choose to funding our schools, to making sure that people can afford health care.”

“Members of the legislature are on the front lines every single day,” she said. “And we need them to protect one of the most important things that we all have and that is our democracy.”

After a brief meet-and-greet to take pictures with the 35 or so attendees, Jill Biden was introduced to the donors by Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Democratic majority leader of the New York State Senate, who is also the chair of the DLCC.

Stewart-Cousins credited the DLCC for helping Democrats recapture full control of the State Senate in 2018, allowing the party to enact a bevy of long-stalled Democratic priorities in Albany, including legislation around voting rights, reproductive health and gun safety.

She then addressed the first lady directly. “Dr. Biden, I know you’ve been going around the country helping every way you can,” she said.

“We know what a champion you are for all of his work and family,” Stewart-Cousins continued. “And we know that you know that the difference between holding on to our democracy is going to be in the hands of the states and state legislatures.”

Jill Biden began her brief remarks to guests gathered in the living room by talking about how politics had not played a major role in her upbringing, which she said was largely defined by her father’s service in the Navy, her role as the eldest of five daughters and the Philadelphia Phillies, which are in the World Series this year.

“I knew that my parents, I hate to say it, they voted Republican, but they didn’t talk about it at the dinner table,” she said. “Instead, they talked about my dad’s job at the bank, about my grandparents’ health and about the education that they wanted for me and for my four sisters. And so I bet a lot of your lives are very typical like that, too. Right? We just sit down and we talk about family, mostly.”

She continued to talk about her first date with Joe Biden. “So, when I met Joe, I felt a little out of touch with his world in Washington, DC. And on our first date, I remember thinking, thank God I voted for him. Now, that was a long time ago, but for most Americans things aren’t much different today.”

She said that in traveling to almost 40 states as the First Lady, she realized that the one goal that unites Americans was, “the chance to work hard and build a better life for their families.” That goal, she said, was being undermined “when extremists go after the rights that most Americans support,” including the right to choose, access to affordable prescription drugs and clean energy.

Jill Biden then shared a personal story she had recounted to guests at another fundraiser earlier in the day in Westchester.

When Dr. Biden was 17, she said that a friend of hers got pregnant. It was the 1960s — years before Roe v. Wade protected the right to an abortion at a national level — and abortions were illegal in Pennsylvania. Her friend, she said, told her that she would need to get “a psychiatric evaluation declaring her mentally unfit before the doctor would perform the procedure to end her pregnancy.”

Dr. Biden, who said she cried on the drive back after visiting her friend in the hospital, said her friend couldn’t go back home after being discharged.

“And so I gathered my courage and asked my mom, ‘Mom, can she come stay with us?” she said. “And my mother didn’t hesitate.” 

“My mom never told a soul. And in fact, my mother and I never spoke about it again. Secrecy, shame, silence, danger. Even death. That’s what that time defined for so many women. So I was shocked when the Dobb’s decision came out. For me, I felt it was devastating. You know, how could we go back to those times?”

She then tied her anecdote back to the purpose of the gathering: to raise money to support Democrats defend their majorities and make inroads in statehouses across the country, including in Colorado, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, among others.

State legislators, Biden said, “make some of the most important decisions that affect people’s lives, from protecting a woman’s right to choose to funding our schools, to making sure that people can afford health care,”she said. “We need them to protect one of the most important things that we all have and that is our democracy.”

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