Jill Biden will promote federal broadband investments in Bethel visit next week

WASHINGTON — First Lady Jill Biden will travel to Bethel on Wednesday.

The trip will be the first time Biden visits Bethel and will mark the first time any first lady has traveled to the Southwest Alaska hub city, according to her office. She visited Anchorage in July 2021 on her way to the Tokyo Olympics. During that trip she made stops at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, where she encouraged people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Alaska Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola is scheduled to meet the first lady in Bethel, Peltola’s hometown. No other officials have yet confirmed if they will also make the trip.

After her trip to Alaska, the first lady is slated to join President Joe Biden for the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan.

Other first ladies and presidents visiting Alaska in recent years have included former first lady Melania Trump, who briefly stopped at JBER in 2017 and met with military families. Former President Donald Trump stopped to speak to troops while refueling at JBER in 2019 and returned after his presidency in 2022 to host a rally in Anchorage. Former President Barack Obama spent three days touring the state in 2015, making stops in Anchorage, Seward, Dillingham and Kotzebue, and was the first president to enter the Arctic Circle in Alaska.

Trump Attorney General William Barr visited Bethel in 2019 to discuss public safety.

During the upcoming trip, Biden plans to tout the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act the president signed into law in 2021, focusing on the millions of dollars the act is pouring into broadband connectivity in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region, according to her office.

Riley Rogerson

Riley Rogerson is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News based in Washington, D.C., and is a fellow with Report for America. Contact her at rrogerson@adn.com.