Beau Biden was not interested in being a politician. He was a public servant who knew that holding political office was the best way to do what he wanted to do: help people who had no one to help them. He would always say, “We’re going to be a voice for the voiceless.”
When Beau decided to run to be attorney general of Delaware, he had a very clear mission in mind. He wanted to address the needs of children, victims of domestic violence, and victims of elder abuse. After he was elected in 2006, he created the Family Division and appointed me as director, a title I still hold today.
Beau was a true leader. He always made people feel they were important to the mission. You saw that in how he embraced being part of the Delaware National Guard. I remember being there the day he deployed. He was hard to pick out, surrounded by his fellow uniformed members. You could tell he was a leader of the team, but more important, he was part of the team.
One example of his leadership stands out in my mind. We were prosecuting Earl Bradley, a pediatrician who had been charged with molesting and raping children in Lewes, Delaware, in early 2010. Beau wanted to make sure that we kept the needs of the victims in mind and that they had the least amount of stress. We read every single file and reached out to every single patient.
He set a community meeting for Jan. 12. It ended up being the same day as his grandmother’s funeral. She was the center of the Biden family and had helped raise Beau after his mother and younger sister died in 1972 when he was 3 years old. He was grief-stricken by the loss of his grandmother, but he came down to Lewes and stood in front of an auditorium of angry parents. He calmly listened to people, made a plan, and got them the help they needed.
Beau was a natural at talking to people he didn’t know. He made people feel that what they had to say was truly important. The empathy he could give within 30 seconds was really special.
Beau was also all about family. He loved to bring his daughter Natalie into the office, usually on Friday afternoons, to spend time with her. When she was there, she was his whole focus. He knew how important it was to tell and show people you love them.
Losing Beau is a phenomenal loss—for his family, for the state of Delaware, and for the country. He had intended to run for governor, and he had so much left to give. His legacy is that he took care of people who couldn’t take care of themselves. I hope that we’ll continue to build on his foundation.
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