October 24, 2021 Your Source for Brentwood News

Bob Arbour and the Making of a President

Joe Biden’s stop in Brentwood on his way to the White House

Brentwood resident Robert (Bob) Arbour is a big supporter of Joe Biden. 

It all started long ago: Arbour’s late aunt, Sonia Sloan, was there at the beginning, working on Joe Biden’s campaign to become a U.S. Senator from the State of Delaware in 1972. 

Joe Biden was 29 at the time (he would turn 30 by the time of being sworn in, the minimum age requirement to become a U.S. Senator).

Bob Arbour is originally from New Jersey, but over the years, he often heard Aunt Sonia brag about how she helped Joe Biden get his start in politics (Biden would later call Sonia Sloan his “mentor”).  

So, when Joe Biden announced in April of 2019 he was running for president, Bob Arbour knew he had to leap into action.  

Bob Arbour (right) introduces Joe Biden.

He would do this for Joe Biden because he believed Biden was uniquely qualified to unite America; he would do this for Aunt Sonia, who died in 2019.  

Aunt Sonia was the wife of the brother of Arbour’s mother. Sonia and her husband, Gil Sloan, 92, both worked at DuPont, where they met. 

Arbour immediately contacted the Biden campaign and offered to organize a fundraiser, in Brentwood.  

With encouragement from the campaign, Arbour reached out to his friend and fellow Brentwood resident, Tom Safran, who has hosted many political fundraisers in his backyard over the years. 

According to Bob Arbour, Safran told him, “If you organize the attendance I’ll provide the venue.”

Joe Biden and Tom Safran hold a photo of then two of them taken years ago.

It took a lot of work, according to Arbour, but on July 18, 2019, it all came together. 

Approximately 300 individuals gathered in Safran’s backyard and listened to Joe Biden explain why he wanted to be president, raising over $150,000 of early campaign funding. 

With that Arbour became a member of the Biden National Finance Committee. He traveled to Des Moines and Las Vegas to campaign and served as a Biden precinct captain in each of the caucuses. He is now working to support the transition effort.

Tom Safran introduced Bob Arbour, who then talked about hearing of Joe Biden from Aunt Sonia. 

Arbour, who is married to Brentwood real estate agent Elyse Arbour, quoted from Abraham Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech.  

Arbour said, while introducing Joe Biden, that the U.S. was facing a “crisis of division” and that Joe Biden represented America’s best hope in the 2020 election.

Bob Arbour greets Joe Biden.

Here’s a story I posted in the Brentwood News on July 24, 2019 about the event: https://brentwoodnewsla.com/joe-biden-comes-to-brentwood/

In Joe Biden’s extemporaneous remarks, he seemed completely sincere, talking about the battle for the soul of America – and how Americans, when they came together, could accomplish anything they wanted to. 

I stood in line and shook Joe Biden’s hand. He and I talked for a full two minutes and I never felt like he was looking over my shoulder, looking for the next, possibly more important, hand to shake. He was completely at ease and in the moment.

I told Joe that one of his lines – about never being more optimistic about the future of America – was a good one, in my view. It seemed hopeful in a time of growing darkness.  “I believe it,” he said. “I really do.” 

I believe he believes it – I really do.

Joe Biden speaking at the July 2019 event in Brentwood

In early 2020, pollsters weren’t giving Joe Biden much of a chance. But it’s clear now, looking back, Joe Biden really was the best candidate the Democrats could put up against Donald Trump in the Year 2020. Joe Biden is a uniter at a time when most Americans want that.

Arbour, who is in commercial real estate financing, obviously had keen political instincts in 2019. I asked him how he thought the Joe Biden presidency will go. 

Arbour said he thought Joe Biden would reach out to congress to make progress on important issues. Arbour said that Biden looks to build bridges and that often requires compromise.   

Let’s wish our new president well – and take pride that Joe Biden chose to say hello to Brentwood on his way to the White House. 

Thank you, Tom Safran and Bob Arbour, for co-hosting this very memorable – and successful – event.  Who knew we were witnessing history in the making that day?

Arbour would like to thank Elyse Arbour, Nancy and Gary Freedman, Ruth Goldway, Aliza and Marc Guren, Judy Jonas, Scott Mayers and Wendy Kneedler for their help on the organizing committee.

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