Philadelphia-area representatives deliver keynote speeches during DNC

Christie Ileto Image
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Philadelphia-area representatives deliver keynote speeches during DNC
LOCAL TAKE CENTER STAGE: Representatives from the Philadelphia area took center stage during night two of the Democratic National Convention.

WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- On Tuesday night, delegates from all 50 states, former Republican national security advisers and progressive leaders all endorsed Joe Biden.

But it was his wife's support that painted the most hopeful and emotional picture of a Biden presidency. Jill Biden, speaking directly to wives, mothers and teachers just like her, described the devastation she felt watching the coronavirus pandemic ravage the nation. And she told the audience her husband could lead the nation through this hardship just as he has their family through many personal tragedies of their own.

"As a mother and a grandmother, as an American, I am heartbroken by the magnitude of this loss. By the failure to protect our communities. By every precious and irreplaceable life gone," she said. "Like so many of you, I'm left asking: How do I keep my family safe?"

Jill Biden offered a personal glimpse into her family's struggles and vouched for her husband's ability to lead the nation through adversity during remarks at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night.

Speaking from the Wilmington, Delaware, high school classroom where she taught English years ago, Mrs. Biden described "the anxiety that echoes down empty hallways" and the uncertainty that has come as schools grapple with whether to resume in-person teaching as the pandemic rages on.

"The burdens we carry are heavy, and we need someone with strong shoulders," Mrs. Biden said. "If we entrust this nation to Joe, he will do for your family what he did for ours: Bring us together and make us whole, carry us forward in our time of need, keep the promise of America for all of us."

And she pledged that if her husband is elected president, America's classrooms "will ring out with laughter and possibility once again."

'A champion of education'

Corey Stewart Burris attended the now-shuttered Claymont High School in 1989, and is a former student of Dr. Jill Biden.

"She was my homeroom teacher as well as my English teacher," said Burris. "She was one of those teachers who really cared about the students."

Former students of Dr. Jill Biden says she was a "champion of education. The former second lady is set to speak Tuesday night during the second night of the DNC.

Burris says after leaving Claymont, the former second lady taught English at Brandywine High School from 1991 to 1993 -- a sentimental spot where she delivered Tuesday night's keynote speech.

"Does it surprise you she's giving her speech from one of her former classrooms?" asked reporter Christie Ileto.

"Not at all, she's actually a champion of education," said Yolanda McCoy.

McCoy, who is also a former student of Dr. Biden, is now a Wilmington City councilmember for District 6.

"Once you got into her class you see exactly what she took pride in when it came to her job," she said.

READ MORE: Delaware buzzing as Democratic National Convention gets underway

Wilmington, Delaware is buzzing as a virtual Democratic National Convention gets underway on Monday night.

Along with Dr. Biden's speech, night two focused on bridging the gap between the established and future members of the party.

Local reps take center stage

Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia had a strong showing in the lineup with two of the 17 up-and-comer politicos speaking virtually, including Congressman Brendan Boyle and State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta.

"I don't think any other city in the country can say they had one keynote speaker let alone two," said Congressman Boyle. "I spoke from my kitchen table from my house in Northeast Philadelphia and was able to talk about real issues facing American families that they talk about from their kitchen table."

Boyle compared it to a modern day fireside chat.

Both he and Pennsylvania State Rep. Kenyatta talked economy, infrastructure and the pandemic.

More than a dozen young leaders in the Democratic party gave the keynote address on the second night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 18.

"Folks' lives have been turned upside down, not even mentioning, yet, in that list of things that are different, are the 7000 plus Pennsylvanians that have died from this pandemic," said Kenyatta.

Politics aside, former students and Delawareans are happy to see one of their own go back to her roots: the classroom

"It's a prideful feeling to know that Dr. Biden was once my teacher at Claymont High School and the importance of education that she stressed them is still relevant today," said Burris.

Sen. Chris Coons and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware deliver nominating speeches supporting Joe Biden during the second night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 18.

What's the 2020 DNC speaker lineup?

Here's what we know about speaker lineup and other events scheduled for each day as announced by the Democratic National Committee:

Monday, Aug. 17

  • Theme of the evening: "We the People"
  • Senator Bernie Sanders
  • Senator Catherine Cortez Masto
  • Governor Andrew Cuomo
  • Governor Gretchen Whitmer
  • Representative Jim Clyburn
  • Convention Chairman Representative Bennie Thompson
  • Representative Gwen Moore
  • Former Governor John Kasich
  • Senator Doug Jones
  • Senator Amy Klobuchar
  • Former First Lady Michelle Obama

Tuesday, Aug. 18

  • Theme of the evening: "Leadership Matters"
  • Former Acting US Attorney General Sally Yates
  • Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
  • Former Secretary of State John Kerry
  • Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
  • Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester
  • Former President Bill Clinton
  • Former Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden

Wednesday, Aug. 19

  • Theme of the evening: "A More Perfect Union"
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
  • Senator Elizabeth Warren
  • Governor Tony Evers
  • Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham
  • Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords
  • Senator Kamala Harris, the Vice Presidential Nominee
  • Former President Barack Obama

Thursday, Aug. 20

  • Theme of the evening: "America's Promise"
  • Senator Cory Booker
  • Governor Gavin Newsom
  • Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Senator Tammy Baldwin
  • Senator Tammy Duckworth
  • Senator Chris Coons
  • The Biden Family
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden

Biden will formally accept the party's nomination from Wilmington's Chase Center on Thursday evening.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.