Presidential candidate profile: Joe Biden


Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event with his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

CLEVELAND (WJW)– A look at key policies for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden as he challenges President Donald Trump.


Joe Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1942. He received a law degree from Syracuse University and married Neilia Hunter. The couple had three children together. He practiced law in Delaware before being elected to the U.S. Senate at the age of 29. Shortly after the election, his wife and infant daughter were killed in a car crash. Five years later, Biden married then-high school teacher Jill Jacobs and they welcomed a daughter.

Biden was Delaware’s longest serving Senator, and pursued the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and 2008. After becoming the presidential nominee, Barack Obama named Biden his running mate. The pair defeated Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008, and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in 2012. Biden was vice president for eight years.

His oldest son, Beau, died from brain cancer in 2015. After months of speculation, Biden opted not to seek the nomination in 2016. He campaigned for Hillary Clinton, who lost to Donald Trump.

Running Mate

Kamala Harris became a U.S. Senator for California in 2017, making her the second African-American woman and the first South Asian-American senator in history. Prior to that, she was the district attorney for the city and county of San Francisco, and the attorney general of California.

She currently serves on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on the Budge in the Senate.

Harris is the first Black woman on a major party presidential ticket.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., arrive to speak at a news conference at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Health Care

Biden’s health care plans highlight the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act. There should be premium-free access to a public option like Medicare, he says. A large portion of his plan involves standing up to prescription drug companies by limiting launch prices and price increases, and allowing residents to buy prescription drugs from other countries.

He also states the country should dedicate more resources to combat health challenges like cancer, Alzheimer’s, opioid addiction and mental health.

Gun Policy

Biden calls gun violence in this country a public health epidemic. His gun safety policies include holding gun manufacturers accountable, banning the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, implementing gun buyback programs and requiring background checks for all gun sales. He advocates for closing various loopholes, like the hate crime loophole, by prohibiting anyone convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime from purchasing or possessing a firearm.


Biden shapes much of his policy after his wife Dr. Jill Biden, an educator for more than 30 years. She says any country that out-educates us will out-compete us.

He supports universal pre-K, expanded home visiting, improved teacher diversity, and eliminating the funding gap between white and non-white districts, and rich and poor districts.

On the topic of higher education, he wants to make two years of community college tuition-free for hard-working students. Under Biden’s plans, there would be a $50 million investment in workforce training, including apprenticeships.

In this Feb. 29, 2020 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by his wife Jill Biden, speaks at a primary night election rally in Columbia, S.C. Jill Biden is a prankster. The Democratic Party’s attempt to adapt its typical convention rituals to a pandemic-induced virtual affair will be put through its paces Tuesday night. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)


Biden puts a heavy emphasis on the middle class. He says the first step in ending economic inequality is reversing tax cuts for the super-wealthy. The former vice president proposes an increase to the federal minimum wage to $15. He is pro-union and collective bargaining.

Biden has separate plans for older and rural Americans that also focus on rebuilding the middle class.

“We must enforce existing trade laws and invest in the competitiveness of our workers and communities here at home, so that they compete on a level playing field. Then, we need to write the rules of the road for international trade through a modern, inclusive process,” Biden says.


“It’s no secret that our immigration system is broken, and for years, we have lacked the political will to fix it. We can secure our border and enforce our laws without tossing aside our values, our principles, and our humanity. Putting people in cages and tearing children away from their parents isn’t the answer,” Biden says.

As president, he says he will undo the damage he says President Donald Trump caused to reclaim America’s values by modernizing the immigration system, committing to asylum-seekers and refugees, and implement effective border screenings.

Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden peeks out from backstage during a campaign event on October 9, 2019 in Rochester, New Hampshire. For the first time, Biden has publicly called for President Trump to be impeached. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Criminal Justice

Biden says we can and must reduce the number of people incarcerated in this country while reducing crime. That involves shifting the criminal justice systems focus on redemption and rehabilitation, he said.

He calls for decriminalizing marijuana and expunging cannabis convictions, ending mandatory minimums and eliminating the death penalty. He wants the end of private prisons. Biden also points out racial, gender and income-based disparities.

(Above policies based on candidate’s website)

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