Joe Biden's Biography

Joseph Biden

Early Years

U.S. Senator Joe Biden was born November 20, 1942, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the first of four childen in an Irish-Catholic family. The family later moved to a middle-class neighborhood in Delaware. In 1961, Biden graduated from Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware and, in 1965, from the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. He then graduated from Syracuse Law School in 1968 aand was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1969.

Beating the Odds

In 1969, Biden began practicing law in Wilmington, Delaware, and was quickly elected to the New Castle County County Council, where he served from 1970 to 1972. The 1972 U.S. Senate election presented Biden with an unusual opportunity. Popular Republican incumbent Sen. J. Caleb Boggs was considering retirement, which would likely have left U.S. Representative Pete du Pont and Wilmington Mayor Harry G. Haskell, Jr. in a divisive primary fight. To avoid that, U.S. President Richard M. Nixon was invited to a meeting to convince Boggs to run again with full Republican support. Boggs ran, but without much enthusiasm, which combined with the new 18-year old voters, and a serious underestimation of Biden's campaign abilities, resulted in the very surprising Biden victory. Biden took office on January 3, 1973, at age 30, becoming the fifth-youngest U.S. Senator in United States history.

A Fixture in the Senate

Biden has since won additional terms easily, usually with about 60 percent of the vote. He is now Delaware's longest-serving U.S. Senator ever. In the state, Biden is highly regarded, mostly because of his frequent presence and attention to local needs. Because of his daily commute, he is a well-known advocate for Amtrak. He also closely watches the interests of the Dover U.S. Air Force Base and the downstate chicken processing industry. Biden is a long-time member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and has gained expertise in foreign policy, national security, and arms control.

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Copyright © Laura Wright 2007