Jill Biden Hosts Veterans Roundtable With Arizona Military Service Members

Photo courtesy of Biden/Harris Media

By Alicia Barrón

September 30, 2020

“We’ll have your back, just like you had ours.”

Jill Biden hosted a Veterans Roundtable last Wednesday via Zoom with military veterans living in Arizona. 

Four panelists were invited to discuss veteran’s issues, including the GI Bill, with the former Second Lady of the United States via Zoom.  

During her introduction, Biden spoke about her family’s history with military service. She recalled how her father had to ask his mom to sign a waiver so he could join the service when he was just 17 years old.

She also talked about her husband Joe Biden’s friendship with the late Sen. John McCain, telling the group that, “they respected each other, even when they disagreed.”

Here are some of the top moments between Biden and the panelists:

Alex Humphrey, Marine Corps

Alex Humprhrey, a recently-graduated registered nurse and Marine Corp veteran, was one of the invited guests at the roundtable. He was injured while deployed overseas and became interested in the medical profession during his rehabilitation. Now he wants to ensure there are more veterans hospitals.


Humphrey said he believes the Department of Veterans Affairs could do more to help service members transition from military life to civilian life more during the last year of enlistment. They could do this by giving service members the tools they need to succeed, like networking skills and more job preparedness. 

Simon Anthony Lee, Marine Corps

Marine Corp veteran Simon Anthony Lee, who goes by SAL, was also on the call. He’s a grad student at Arizona State University and mentioned being interested in the Space Force. When he talked about perhaps also pursuing a second Master’s degree, Biden kindly suggested he skip the second Master’s and go straight for his Doctorate degree. Because, advised Biden, if more education means a higher salary, why waste time?

Jessica and Benny Morel, Iraq War Veterans

Then there was Jessica and Benny Morel, a married couple who met in Iraq. They’ve lived in Arizona for over 16 years and have two teenage kids. Benny, a police officer, also has a bowtie business named YRS New York. He wore a camouflage bow tie from his business for their call with Biden.

Both Benny and Jessica credit the GI Bill with allowing them to get an education. He studied criminal justice, and she became an elementary school teacher, although she now works in real estate. Benny has also produced several plays in Phoenix and Tempe. 

The Morels think that their GI benefits should never expire. In fact, they’re unsure whether their two teen kids are entitled to these benefits or not. It can get confusing for vets. Jessica explained, “Different branches have different rules and regulations involved.” 

They wish it were more of a streamlined process with who can use what and when more clearly outlined. “I think it should be the same for all branches. It’s an equal sacrifice for a service member and their families,” Benny added.

“We’ll Have Your Back”

Biden thanked the panelists for what she described as “super suggestions” for the Biden-Harris presidential campaign.

She closed the roundtable discussion by telling the vets on the call: “If I have the honor of becoming your First Lady, your community will be one of my most important priorities,” Biden promised. “I want you to know that we want to keep listening. We’ll have your back, just like you had ours.”


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