Valerie Biden Owens

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Valerie Biden Owens
Owens in 2020
Personal details
Valerie Biden

(1945-11-05) November 5, 1945 (age 78)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Bruce Saunders

John Owens
(m. 1975)
RelativesBiden family
EducationUniversity of Delaware (BA)
WebsiteOfficial website

Valerie Biden Owens (born November 5, 1945) is an American political strategist, campaign manager and former educator. She is the younger sister of Joe Biden, the 46th and current president of the United States. In 2016, President Barack Obama nominated her as alternate representative of the United States to the 71st Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.[1]

Owens has played a substantial role in all of her brother's political campaigns. She was the campaign manager during all of his Senate elections and for his 1988 and 2008 presidential campaigns, as well as a senior advisor to his successful 2020 presidential campaign.[2][3] Owens published her autobiography, Growing Up Biden, in 2022.[4][5]

Early life and education[edit]

She was born on November 5, 1945 in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts, to Catherine Eugenia "Jean" (née Finnegan; 1917–2010) and Joseph Robinette Biden Sr. (1915–2002).[6] Her brothers are Joe, Francis "Frank" Biden, and James "Jim" Biden. Her family is of Irish Catholic background. Biden's father was initially wealthy, but later suffered several financial setbacks; for several years the family lived with Biden's maternal grandparents in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Joe Biden Sr. later became a successful used car salesman, maintaining the family a middle-class lifestyle.[7]

Owens graduated from Ursuline Academy in Wilmington, Delaware in 1963, and went on to study at the University of Delaware, where she was on the dean's list and was homecoming queen, graduating in 1967.[8]


After college, Owens was a teacher at Wilmington Friends School before focusing on politics.[8]

From 1997 until 2016, she served as executive vice-president of Joe Slade White & Company, a media consultant firm. Owens has worked with the service organization Ministry of Caring for over 35 years and sits on their Board of Directors.[9][10]

She has worked extensively with Women's Campaign International to help teach women how to develop and grow their political skills.[11][12] In 2013, Owens traveled with her brother Joe Biden to the Vatican City as an official U.S. delegate for the inauguration of Pope Francis.[13]

In 2014, Owens was a Resident Fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics.[14] In 2017, Owens was a featured speaker at a Ted Talk conference in Wilmington, Delaware.[15] Owens is vice-chair of both the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware and the Biden Foundation. Owens returns to the University of Delaware periodically to give lectures on politics and her experiences as a woman on the campaign trail.[16]

Owens in South Korea with her sister-in-law Jill Biden, 2015

She has traveled around the world as a motivational speaker, and teacher of leadership and communication seminars. She helped to found the Owens-Patrick seminar group.[17] Owens currently sits on the advisory board for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Public Policy Institute.[18]

Owens has played a substantial role in all of her brother's political campaigns dating back to his first campaign, for the New Castle County, Delaware council in 1970. Owens managed for Joe Biden's 1988 presidential campaign.[19] In 2008, Owens and Ashley Judd campaigned together in North Carolina at several events in support of Barack Obama and Joe Biden.[20]

Joe Biden mentioned her in his presidential acceptance speech on November 7, 2020. Owens was in attendance at the event in Wilmington, Delaware, where she also met Maya Harris, the sister of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Owens' first husband was Bruce Saunders, whom she married shortly after graduating college.[22] Bruce and Valerie moved in with Joe Biden and his two sons, Hunter and Beau, following the death of her sister-in-law Neilia in a car crash in December 1972. Valerie helped look after her nephews so that Joe could begin his first term as senator in 1973. Valerie and Bruce had both worked on Joe Biden's first Senate campaign in 1972.[23]

Owens is married to attorney John T. Owens, with whom she has three children: son Cuffe Owens, also an attorney, and two daughters, Missy Owens and Casey Owens Castello. John T. Owens was a friend of Joe Biden's during their law school years at Syracuse University. The two were wed in a Roman Catholic ceremony at the Church Center for the United Nations in 1975.[24][25][26][27] In October 2021, Cuffe Owens married reality TV star Meghan King.[28] They separated two months later and the marriage was later annulled.[29][30]

Awards and honors[edit]

The University of Delaware bestowed an Honorary Doctorate of Law to her in 2018.[8] Harvard University honored her with their 'Women Inspiring Change" award in 2015.[31]
Ursuline Academy inducted her to their Distinguished Alumnae Hall of Fame in 2018.[32]

In 2021, Forbes listed Owens on their Impact List of 50 Women over 50 who are inspiring change in their communities through social entrepreneurship, law, advocacy and education.[33]


  1. ^ "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". September 13, 2016. Retrieved October 18, 2022.
  2. ^ CBS News Biden Campaign accessed 11/11/2020
  3. ^ Meet Joe Biden Sister, Vogue Magazine accessed 11/12/2020
  4. ^ accessed 7/17/2021
  5. ^ "Growing up Biden". June 24, 2021.
  6. ^ Sun, Baltimore. "Joseph Biden Sr., 86, the father of..." Archived from the original on December 30, 2019. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  7. ^ "The Frontline Interview: Valerie Biden Owens". FRONTLINE (Interview).
  8. ^ a b c "University of Delaware Statement accessed 11/7/2020" (PDF).
  9. ^ "Valerie Biden Owens Biography".
  10. ^ "Joe Biden's Sister Isn't Running The Campaign This Time — And It's "Damn Frustrating"". BuzzFeed News.
  11. ^ Saul, Stephanie (February 28, 2020). "Politics, Money, Siblings: The Ties Between Joe Biden and Valerie Biden Owens". The New York Times.
  12. ^ Parker, Ashley (October 1, 2008). "Biden Relies on His Closest Adviser, His Sister (Published 2008)". The New York Times.
  13. ^ Biden plays the Catholic card accessed 11/9/2020
  14. ^ "Valerie Biden Owens". The Institute of Politics at Harvard University.
  15. ^ Owens, Valerie Biden. "The Contribution Code: Three B's That Make All the Difference" – via
  16. ^ Biden Owens on Girl Power accessed 11/9/2020
  17. ^ Bill Barrow (August 20, 2020). "Q&A: Valerie Biden Owens, from Joe's manager to proud sister" (Interview). Retrieved November 7, 2020.
  18. ^ "Advisory Board Members | MGM Resorts Public Policy Institute at UNLV | University of Nevada, Las Vegas". February 22, 2019.
  19. ^ Viser, Matt. "Biden's sister, Valerie, at his side for 74 years — and for one final goal" – via
  20. ^ Ashley Judd on the trail accessed 11/14/2020
  21. ^ Phillips, Amber. "Analysis | Joe Biden's victory speech, annotated" – via
  22. ^ Oprah Mag Biden Sister accessed 11/11/2020
  23. ^ Biden Political Family, New York Times accessed 11/11/2020]
  24. ^ "Bridal at U.N. For Miss Biden". The New York Times. October 12, 1975. Retrieved May 24, 2021.
  25. ^ "Statement from Vice President Joe Biden". The White House.
  26. ^ Valerie Biden New York Times Wedding Announcement accessed 11/9/2020
  27. ^ "Biden family does not own Dominion Voting Systems". AP NEWS. April 20, 2021.
  28. ^ Melas, Chloe (October 12, 2021). "Cuffe Biden Owens, President Biden's nephew, marries former 'Real Housewives' star Meghan O'Toole King". CNN. Retrieved January 20, 2023.
  29. ^ Nardino, Meredith (December 28, 2021). "Inside Meghan King's Split From Husband Cuffe Owens: What Went Wrong?". Us Weekly. Retrieved January 20, 2023.
  30. ^ "Meghan King Says She 'Learned Some Big Lessons' as Marriage to Cuffe Owens Is Officially Annulled". Peoplemag. Retrieved January 20, 2023.
  31. ^ "Valerie Biden Owens". March 2, 2015.
  32. ^ Ursuline 2018 Inductees accessed 11/9/2020
  33. ^ [1] Forbes 50 accessed 07/17/2021

30. ↑ White House Archives for President Barack Obama 09/13/2016

External links[edit]