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Campaigning in a Pandemic: Jill Biden Zooms into Arizona

Posted at 7:44 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 22:44:15-04

PHOENIX — The coronavirus pandemic has caused a significant shift in American society in the way many live their lives. Even influencing the way presidential candidates and surrogates can campaign.

“You can't fly in an airplane or have a bus tour or even visit people's homes,” said Dr. Jill Biden addressing Arizonan community organizers during her second Zoom event of the day. “So, we're trying something, new virtual visits from my home right here in Wilmington, Delaware. And it's certainly not the campaign I imagined.”

Arizona is a swing state for the upcoming election in November. It’s going to be the target of more political ads and virtual townhalls like those Jill Biden participated in on Thursday.

Biden hosted three Zoom events for her virtual travel day to Arizona. The events were spread throughout the day focusing on education, community organization for Joe and Latina leaders of Tucson.

Jill Biden used the time to listen to participants’ stories, allow questions and share her husband’s policies.

As an educator for over 30-years, Dr. Biden said that learning in the pandemic age needs changes. Teachers have reported that in some classes “like two students will show up and, in some classrooms, everybody shows.”

“This time has definitely shown really the inequity I think is in education across this country, you know?” said Biden. “Some kids don't have laptops and some kids don't have internet, so we need to establish broadband across the entire nation, so that all kids get equal access to education.”

Frank Hunter, the maintenance specialist for Mesa Public Schools, expressed concern over individuals that work for MPS as support staff, food service or custodial being seen as unessential after COVID-19.

“My fear is that when these people come back, that, you know, they're going to be forced out of education,” said Hunter. “And we need to fix that.”

Biden addressed Hunter’s concern by referencing former Vice-President Biden’s education policy.

“Joe will pay teachers more. He's going to triple the funding for Title One schools,” Biden said. “We have to, you know, pay teachers as professionals. That's who we are, we are professionals and, you know, all the support staff.”

While Joe Biden’s education policy references a triple funding increase for Title One Schools and competitive salaries for educators, it never explains how it will be funded.

Joe Biden has made a handful of radio and television appearances in the past couple of months but, that’s expected to ramp up soon along with virtual townhalls.