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As Second Gentleman, Mr. Emhoff is working to share the priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration with people across the country and around the world.
During his first year as Second Gentleman, Mr. Emhoff traveled to dozens of states and two countries. He has met with health care professionals, front-line workers, parents, teachers, caregivers, community leaders, legal aid providers, and small-business owners in urban and rural areas, communities of color, and Tribal communities to hear their stories and to share how the Administration is working to help their families.
Mr. Emhoff has made it a top priority to encourage people to protect themselves and their communities by getting vaccinated against COVID-19. He visited vaccine clinics in churches, community health centers, schools, stadiums, and even barbershops to raise awareness around the importance of getting vaccinated.
As the first Second Gentleman, married to the first female vice president, Mr. Emhoff knows the power and importance of having women in leadership positions. While traveling the country, he has seen what it has meant to young girls and boys to look up to Vice President Kamala Harris. He is proud of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitments to advancing gender equity and will continue to speak about the importance of being a supportive spouse.
As a lawyer for over 30 years, Mr. Emhoff cares deeply about justice and equality in our legal system. He is a strong advocate for the Administration’s commitment expanding federal legal resources to those who need it most. Mr. Emhoff has convened legal aid listening sessions, visited pro bono clinics, and met with legal aid providers and their clients across the country to learn more about the inequities in the legal system and to hear how the pandemic has impacted access to justice.
As the first Jewish spouse of an American president or vice president, Mr. Emhoff has been honored to share his Jewish heritage and culture—from celebrating Passover in the White House to hanging a Mezuzah on the front door of the Vice President’s Residence. He regularly engages with individuals from the Jewish community as well as other faith-based groups to discuss the Administration’s priorities to strengthen religious tolerance and protect religious freedom.
In January 2020, Mr. Emhoff began teaching law courses at the Georgetown University Law Center and is enjoying the opportunity to mentor the next generation of lawyers.
“I’M THE FIRST MAN TO TAKE THIS ROLE, BUT I DEFINITELY DON’T WANT TO BE THE LAST. SO, I AM GOING TO DO EVERYTHING I CAN TO SET A GOOD EXAMPLE AND INSPIRE THE NEXT GENERATION OF SUPPORTIVE SPOUSES.”DOUGLAS EMHOFF, JANUARY 18, 2021
EARLY LIFE AND CAREER
Mr. Emhoff was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Matawan, New Jersey, by his parents, Mike and Barbara, with his siblings, Jamie and Andy. His family moved to the Los Angeles area during his teen years. Mr. Emhoff earned a B.A. from California State University, Northridge and a J.D. from University of Southern California Gould School of Law.
Vice President Harris and Mr. Emhoff were set up on a blind date in 2013 and married a year later in a ceremony officiated by her sister, Maya. He is the very proud father of Cole and Ella (named after John Coltrane and Ella Fitzgerald) whom he shares with his ex-wife and co-parent, Kerstin Emhoff.
“WE SHARE A BOND, ROOTED IN FAMILY AND SERVICE—AND THE IMMENSE RESPONSIBILITY THAT WE ARE TAKING ON TOGETHER. AND ON THIS JOURNEY ALONGSIDE JOE, AND JILL, AND KAMALA, I’VE HAD A CHANCE TO SEE AMERICA LIKE NEVER BEFORE. AND THE FOLKS I’VE MET, AND THE STORIES I’VE HEARD, WILL BE WITH ME FOREVER.”DOUGLAS EMHOFF, NOVEMBER 2, 2020