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Pasco County elementary school has fond memories of Joe Biden's visit almost a decade ago

Posted at 2:52 PM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 18:27:29-05

LAND O'LAKES, Fla. — Inauguration Day is bringing back memories for staff and students who were at Oakstead Elementary in Land O' Lakes almost a decade ago.

That’s when then-Vice President Joe Biden came for a visit.

As far as anyone can remember, a sitting Vice President had never visited Pasco County. But Mr. Biden changed that on Oct. 4, 2011.

He spent about four hours meeting with students, answering questions, playing basketball and even doing push-ups.

Tammy Kimpland was Oakstead’s principal.

“It was an awesome day. It was an honor and an experience. He was a very gracious man and a very kind person not only to the teachers but the kids and all the guests," said Kimpland.

Back then Biden was touting President Obama’s American Jobs Act.

He picked Oakstead Elementary because it was the biggest elementary school in Pasco County, and at the time, the district was dealing with budget cuts and layoffs.

There was a press conference in the library and our one-on-one interview. But most of his time was spent with the kids.

Jillian Hermansen was in 2nd grade.

“All the other people were like taller and older. And he got to me and he was like 'oh! You’re a little person.' I said I was here with my mom. And he said that is so cool that you get to be here," said Hermansen.

Biden came bearing gifts, giving the kids frisbees and stuffed toy replicas of his dog.

“He made us feel comfortable. He didn’t make us feel like was in a position of power. He was like we were a family member," said Lake Myrtle Elementary principal Megan Hermansen.

Hermansen was assistant principal at Oakstead when Biden visited.

“Back then it was like this is a cool person. But now it’s like I got to meet the President of the United States," said Jillian Hermansen.

The American Jobs Act the Vice President was there to tout ended up getting killed in the Senate. But the memories of this visit have lived on.

And now that Joe Biden is President, those here say he has an open invitation to come back.