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First Lady Jill Biden visits Grand Rapids

First Lady Jill Biden visited Grand Rapids Friday as the keynote speaker for the annual First Ladies Luncheon hosted by the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation

“As an American who really loved Betty Ford as our First Lady, I decided I wanted to come here and be here with all of you, so Betty, I’m here for you!”

A hoarse Jill Biden greeted the guests but had her remarks read by a surrogate after waking up with laryngitis.

She was the keynote speaker at a luncheon and conference honoring Betty Ford’s 50th anniversary of going public with her breast cancer diagnosis.

Daughter Susan Ford says her mother forever changed the public conversation about women’s health, including addiction and mental health, and called both First Ladies “trailblazers.”

“A woman who shows all of us by word and deed how one person can lift up the lives of millions and a woman who most certainly Betty Ford would be proud to call her friend.”

Dr. Biden’s remarks, read by her friend, focused on President Biden’s initiative to change how the country approaches and funds research on women’s health issues.

“Joe is pushing Congress to make the biggest and boldest investment ever made in women’s health: $12 billion so that women can finally get the answers we deserve.”

Following the luncheon was a public conference on Betty Ford’s leadership in women’s health issues and a panel discussion with experts on First Ladies’ contributions to history.

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