Jill Biden

Jill Biden, spouse of former vice president Joe Biden, left, and David Messier, right, speak to a crowd at a kickoff event for Joe Biden hosted at Messier’s home in Claremont on Saturday.

CLAREMONT — Jill Biden, educator and wife of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, met with supporters at a private home in Claremont for a kickoff campaign on Saturday.

A small group of local Democrats gathered at the home of David and Kyle Messier in the early afternoon to greet Biden, who delivered brief remarks about the urgency of the 2020 election, saying that defeating President Donald Trump is the single-most priority.

Biden said that her husband decided to run following the events in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017, when a controversial rally by far-right organizations unravelled into tense confrontations with counter-protesters, leading to the murder of a counter-protester by self-proclaimed white supremacist James Alex Fields. Fields deliberately rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 other people.

“I know you all are working hard, but I want to ask if you can work a little bit harder,” Biden told the attendees. “We can’t treat this like any other election. We have to beat Donald Trump.”

Biden called for people to mobilize their friends and others to join grassroots campaign efforts like door-to-door and phone canvassing.

“Wherever it is, whether it’s your college, your church, your book group or your school,” Biden said. “If you can bring more people to get the word out, we must do a better job.”

Biden spoke to education being her driving issue.

As an educator of 35 years, she said that America really needs “a boost in the arm” to lift up the teaching profession to where it deserves.

Biden also shared concerns from teachers about their daily struggles to help students living in poverty, dealing with issues like food insecurity or domestic violence.

“So many things that [students] bring to school that teachers have to deal with these problems as well,” Biden said.

Biden said she even encounters students with these struggles at the community college where she teaches. For example, the college started a food pantry because of students with food insecurity.

Biden recommended that everyone find the passion that energizes their desire to create change.

“Everyday you have to wake up and say, ‘This is what I believe in, and this is our time to change the direction of this county,’” Biden said.

Former Claremont City Manager Guy Santatagate, a Biden supporter, said that he believes that Biden has the best chance of the Democratic candidates to beat Trump. Santagate expressed his concerns about candidates like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, saying that pushing bold initiatives like Medicare for All will not win over moderate Americans. He said that Joe Biden’s campaign needs to elevate the argument against Medicare for All by making clear to voters that it has no realistic chance of passage.

Biden told Santagate that the former vice-president has introduced that argument already, but will likely increase that focus later in the primary season.

“I think as the campaign goes along and people start to focus in,’ Biden said. “You here are focused on it because you have a primary coming up. But I wonder if somebody in another state is as focused as you are?”

New Hampshire’s primary will take place in approximately 91 days on Tuesday, February 11, 2020.

After her speech, Biden left with her team to knock on some doors of registered Democrats in Claremont before heading to a campaign event in Lebanon.

On Friday, Joe Biden filed his name for the New Hampshire primary ballot. Afterward, he visited with former New Hampshire governor John Lynch.

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