We went to what I thought was a fundraiser for President Joe Biden. Instead, it was a book tour for his sister Valerie Biden Owens.
She has been managing her brother’s campaign since his first, a county council race in 1970. And she is the one he trusts the most, in addition to his wife Jill, to tell him the truth. The book is called “Growing up Biden.” She is the only daughter in a close-knit Irish Catholic family of three boys and one girl. Her oldest brother is her best friend and companion. When his friends would ask the school-age future president why he was always hanging around with a girl, he would say, “She’s not a girl. She’s my sister.”
There were about 250 young couples, many of whom brought their school-age children, to meet Valerie Biden at the Nassau Inn one rainy Friday night. Someone introduced us to a perky attractive woman in a pink outfit. She chatted with us for about 10 minutes before we realized who she was and that we were monopolizing her time. Off she went to answer mostly softball questions from the audience. You knew right way she was very smart despite her good-natured replies. Her brother, Joe, was lucky to have her. She said they thought alike and there was only once when they disagreed on something but it turned out they didn’t disagree after all. What impressed me the most was her midwestern charm even though she is an East Coaster. She made me feel so good about the president, that we were lucky to have such a caring, experienced and smart person in charge, a very decent human being for a change. And from a very smart, caring family. They might not have attended college but their advice to their children was better than what you would get from a professional. You have to admire the parents who made their kids strong and happy and family oriented. That’s why the Biden clan has stuck together.
You may not know or heard of her but if you are a Democrat running for office in San Mateo County she is a VIP. Karen Maki is chair of the Democratic Central Committee. They make important endorsements. In the upcoming June primary, the committee is endorsing Christina Corpus for sheriff; Nancy Magee for county superintendent; and Ray Mueller for District 3 supervisor. They are not endorsing either Charles Stone or Noelia Corzo in the race for District 2 supervisor because members were split and neither candidate received more than 60% of the vote. This was a big disappointment for Corzo who needed their endorsement to balance the numerous ones Stone has collected.
James Coleman, democratic socialist from South San Francisco, is running for the state Assembly in a crowded field. He is very popular with young voters. He is more of a threat to Redwood City Mayor Giselle Hale, the other progressive Democrat in the race, which may give San Mateo Deputy Mayor Diane Papan an advantage.
It’s a shame that Papan, an outstanding San Mateo councilmember, has allowed her campaign to buddy up with the California Apartment Association PAC and engage in the politics of personal destruction even if some of the attacks may be true. And Hale’s supporters will most likely respond in kind. Despite this misstep, don’t count Diane out. After all, she is a Papan.
Here in New Jersey, we are celebrating the victory of Lt. Gov. John Fetterman to be the Democratic Party candidate for the U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania. Fetterman is not your usual politician. His daily uniform is shorts and a hooded sweatshirt. His arm is covered with tattoos. They are a series of dates which signify handgun murders when he was mayor of rural Braddock. And he is very popular. Good news for the Democrats.
Sue Lempert is the former mayor of San Mateo. Her
column runs every Monday. She can be reached