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A Reflection on Beau Biden


I was elected to succeed Beau as Delaware’s Attorney General last November. There has been a lot of discussion since Beau’s tragic and untimely death about the initiatives that he created at the Delaware Department of Justice, and deservedly so. They were important accomplishments. What has been underappreciated is the extraordinary caliber of the people whose loyalty to Beau and belief in Beau brought them to the Department of Justice.

The Department of Justice is only as good as the hundreds of people who come to work there every day. I have discovered in my brief time there that in the course of eight years, Beau attracted men and women of exceptional talent and work ethic to join him at the Department of Justice. They came to the Department of Justice in spite of other opportunities they had to earn more money and work fewer hours.

Many of them came there because of Beau—because they believed in him personally. And they stayed, because he vindicated their faith in him by his actions. The Department of Justice, and the people of this state, will benefit for many years from the talent and commitment of people who became prosecutors because they believed in Beau Biden. That is an important legacy. 

But Beau’s most important legacy will be his own kids. Beau and I spent a lot of time talking about our families—my twins are 10; his children, Natalie and Hunter, are 11 and 9, so over the last decade, we were dealing with a lot of the same things at the same time. Politics can be a hard line of work to be in when you have young kids. It is even harder when you step up and serve your country overseas like Beau did, and harder still when your presence is demanded all over the country. But Beau knew how important it was to be present for his wife Hallie and for his kids. He never told me how he came to know that, but I suspect he knew because he saw his dad do it for him. 

And Beau was present for his kids. I don’t know that because he told me so. I don’t know that because I read it in a magazine. I know it because I saw the way his kids looked at him, and I heard the way they talked to him. I saw him communicate with them on playgrounds and T-ball fields in the silent ways that truly connected parents can. Natalie and Hunter knew how much Beau loved them because he made sure they knew, because, when he was being pulled in a dozen different directions, he remembered what was most important. He was taken from them far too soon, but the love he shared with them will stay with them forever.

*Editor’s Note: Delaware Today asked Attorney General Matt Denn to share his thoughts about his friend and colleague, the late Beau Biden.

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