Former Vice President and current Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is close with his entire family, which includes his youngest daughter Ashley Biden. Ashley lives a quieter, less public life than her older brothers Hunter and Beau (Beau sadly died in 2015). Married in 2012 to Dr. Howard Krein, the social worker/career development and education liaison has evolved into a business owner and passionate advocate for social justice. So what else do we know about Joe's daughter, who will likely be more visible as 2020 continues?
Ashley's very close with Joe.
Ashley is Joe's second daughter—her older sister Naomi and Joe's first wife Neilia were tragically killed in a car accident in 1972 (Naomi, nickname "Amy," was only 15 months old). Joe married Jill Biden in 1977, and Ashley was born in 1981. Ashley accompanied her father on the campaign trail, and the experience inspired her to a career as an activist. "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," she explained.
Ashley's activism continued as an adult. She was named executive director of the Delaware Center for Justice in 2014, which focuses on criminal justice reform. Her work was impacted by life in 2015: Her older brother Beau passed away of brain cancer. "It was very important to Ashley,” her mom explained at the time, “to carry on Beau’s legacy—the reforms in criminal justice, his work with children. Hunter, too, set an example with the work he was/is doing. She always had a reason to be engaged with them and she found a way to follow her own lead."
Most recently, Ashley and her brother Hunter introduced Joe at the (virtual) Democratic National Convention. "He'll be rock steady...he'll treat everyone with respect no matter who you are," she explained. "He'll love you with all of his heart." Ashley was one of several family members who joined together to support Joe, including several of his grandchildren.
She was born for public service.
Ashley explained to Glamour in 2017 why she's devoted her life to causes that are important to her. “The passion started at a very young age...My dad is a lifelong public servant; my mom was a public-school teacher—it’s in my DNA.” She eventually focused on social justice in education, but according to her, she had a real passion for causes since she was very young:
“When I was a kid, I always really loved animals, and I found out that Bonne Bell lip gloss was testing on animals, so I organized my school to start writing letters to [the company],” she says. “Then I became obsessed with the plight of dolphins getting stuck in tuna nets. My dad connected me with Congressman Barbara Boxer, who I nicknamed the ‘dolphin lady,’ and she got me onto the floor to help lobby Republican congressman for The Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act.”
Ashley owns her own company, Livelihood.
Ashley founded the organization Livelihood after Beau died. It designs and sells American-made clothing, with a goal of donating proceeds to sales to community organizations in D.C. and Delaware. When it was launched, it sold sweatshirts exclusively via Gilt; The intention of the organization is "supporting criminal justice reform, improving childhood education and ameliorating economic disparities." Its particular focus was also to get people involved in local politics. The brand is currently going through a relaunch.
In an interview with Delaware Today, she spoke on why she got into the business. She said, “It doesn’t matter if it’s overcoming incarceration and poor choices—I’ve made plenty, too—or grappling with a sibling’s death, you can move forward and be better,” she says. “Getting people out of the justice system, or simply getting them the services they need, is about hope and possibilities. I am in my job because our system is malfunctioning. Mass incarceration isn’t the answer.”
Here, she speaks about Livelihood at the University of Delaware:
She's married to Philadelphia surgeon Howard Krein.
On June 2, 2012, Ashley married Krein at the church in Delaware where she was baptized; the reception was held at the Biden home. "This is the right guy," Biden said at the time. "And he’s getting a helluva woman." Ashley apparently met Krein through her late brother Beau in 2010, and the couple planned to live less than an hour away in Philadelphia.
According to his LinkedIn, he's got a few positions: He's Chief Medical Officer at StartUp Health, which helps "entrepreneurs to build sustainable health and wellness companies," senior director of health policy and innovation at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, and associate professor of otolaryngology: head and neck surgery at Jefferson as well. He's on Instagram, apparently, but doesn't post very much. (In case you're wondering, Ashley apparently does have an Instagram, but it's private.)
She has been involved in her father's campaigns.
As of June 2019, Ashley hadn't officially joined Joe's campaign—at the time, she was speaking to The Washington Post about the uniforms she'd designed for Hamilton Hotel in D.C. and her goals for Livelihood. But, "Once campaigns start rolling, they’re like a snowball picking up pretty much everything in its path. There already have been stories asking questions about the status of her brand, how much money has been raised, where it has gone...Family members don’t choose to join campaigns. They are the campaign."
She campaigned virtually for her father at a Wisconsin Women For Biden event that focused on discussing his platform's goals for women's rights as they addressed the pay gap, health care, child care, and more. Before this event, she spoke at a North Carolina for Biden virtual meeting as well.
"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," said Ashley at the Zoom Wisconsin meeting. By how actively she is supporting her father currently, there's a good chance we'll see more of her out on the campaign trail as it gets closer to November.