The close bond former Vice President and current Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden shares with his family is evident. He’s a father to four children—Beau (who passed away in 2015), Hunter, and Naomi (who passed away in 1972)—with his late first wife Neilia. And he shares youngest daughter Ashley, 39, with his current wife Jill. Like other members of her high-profile family, Ashley has largely devoted her life to public service. “The passion started at a very young age,” she told Glamour in 2017. “My dad is a lifelong public servant; my mom was a public-school teacher—it’s in my DNA.”
Ahead, everything we know about Ashley, her work in fashion, and history of campaigning on her father’s behalf.
She’s long worked in the social justice reform space.
Continuing in her parents’ footsteps, Ashley has largely spent her career working in social justice. She graduated from Tulane University and earned a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2012, Ashley joined the Delaware Center for Justice, which focuses on criminal justice reform, as associate director before being appointed executive director in 2014. Prior to that stint, which ended in 2019, she was a social worker for 15 years at the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families. While there, Ashley created programs for youth “in the juvenile-justice, foster-care and mental-health systems,” per the The New York Times.
Her activist streak began with animal rights.
As for where Ashley’s passion for public service began, she traces it back to fourth grade when she discovered her favorite lip gloss company Bonne Bell tested products on animals. Ashley reportedly aired her grievances to the brand via a letter campaign, à la Meghan Markle and that sexist Procter & Gamble commercial.
Around the same time, she got involved in dolphin conservation after seeing the animals frequently captured in tuna nets. Ashley told DelawareToday that she came to her father “prepared with research and posters and talk about how we needed to save the dolphins,” prompting him to work with Congresswoman Barbara Boxer to write and pass the 1990 Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act. According to the outlet, Ashley herself made an appearance before members of Congress to lobby for the legislation.
She founded her own fashion line, Livelihood.
In 2017, Ashley shifted her focus towards the world of fashion, founding the ethically-assembled, American-made clothing brand Livelihood. At its initial launch, the label collaborated with GILT Group and raised $30,000 for the Delaware Community Foundation Livelihood Inc. fund, according to its site.
The hoodie brand is currently going through a relaunch, but was conceived in connection to “American laborers and more recently to Black Lives Matter,” as reported by ELLE. “Livelihood is specifically about income inequality,” Ashley told ELLE ahead of its launch. “And racial inequality and income inequality are directly related.” Ashley’s father Joe supported Livelihood at an NYFW event for the brand, telling E! News, “I’m very proud of her. She’s been trying to change the world since she was three.”
She’s campaigned for her father.
As the 2020 presidential race heated up, Ashley made a few campaign appearances for her father. In August, she virtually hosted a Wisconsin Women For Biden event centered on the pay gap, child care, and reproductive rights. “I’m here today because I adore my father, but I also deeply believe he has the character and the vision to lead this country,” she reportedly told attendees. “When I say I’m ready for a Biden presidency, it’s not just because I think my dad is the best person. With my dad as president, he will help us solve some of the great challenges of our generation… And he has the empathy and fortitude to help us address the racial and economic disparities that undermine all communities…Make no mistake, women will decide this election. Women of color will decide this election.”
In 2018, when rumors of a Biden 2020 campaign were beginning to ramp up, Ashley spoke about her father’s influence on her own beliefs. “I was always a mediator, and couldn’t stand someone getting made fun of or being bullied as a young girl,” she told DelawareToday. “My dad always taught me that silence is complicity, and that I must stand up for anyone who was being treated unfairly. That has stayed with me through adulthood, and is the guiding principle in my professional life.”
Ashley also appeared alongside her brother Hunter to give their father a virtual introduction at the Democratic National Convention. In the message she says, “He’ll be rock steady” and ” “He’ll love you with all of his heart.”
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She’s close with her siblings.
That same 2018 DelawareToday profile referenced the tight-knit bond Ashley shares with her family. Joe told the outlet, “There’s no one you’re closer to than your siblings. In Ashley’s case, this was especially true.” Jill echoed that sentiment about Hunter and Beau. “From the minute she was born, her brothers looked after her,” Jill said. “And, she always looked up to them. Wherever they went, she wanted to go, and they took her.” Jill said the tragic loss of Beau from a brain tumor in 2015 inspired Ashley to make change in the world. “It was very important to Ashley to carry on Beau’s legacy—the reforms in criminal justice, his work with children,” she explained.
In 2012, she married Dr. Howard Krein.
Biden married Dr. Howard Krein, 53, in June 2012, according to The New York Times. The couple wed at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Church in Greenville, Delaware. He’s a plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and has a ton of degrees to prove it. Per the Times, Krein earned his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University, medical degree from Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson Medical College, and a PH.D. in cell and development biology from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Ashley told ELLE in 2017 that she met her husband through her late brother, Beau. He’s even earned the seal of approval from Joe Biden, with the father telling People, “This is the right guy. And he’s getting a helluva woman.”
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