Rose Keller ’24 Introduces President Biden at March 11 New Hampshire Event

By Rebecca Goldfine
Before President Biden took the stage in Goffstown to talk about lowering drug costs, Keller spoke about the toll that expensive medications have taken on her and her family.

The Bowdoin senior, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as an infant, was invited to participate in the event to personalize the health care policy issue that Biden focused on in his remarks.

The disease, which is progressive and has no cure, requires Keller to take numerous life-sustaining prescription drugs. “Like countless others grappling with chronic illnesses, I have witnessed firsthand the burden exorbitant drug costs have imposed on my family,” she said at the podium, acknowledging her father, Donald Kreis, standing behind her.

Last year, her family spent almost $3,000 out of pocket for her medications. Just one of the drugs she takes would have an annual list price of more than $300,000 without insurance coverage.

A government and English major, Keller one day hopes to be an attorney “who fights for good governance practices and effective public administration,” she said in her speech. “I want to spend my time planning for that future. Instead I am worried about my ability to afford my health care and live an independent life.”

A couple of days later, Keller provided a few more details about what it was like to participate in the political event, which she described as “an opportunity of a lifetime.”

She said that the event organizers had invited her to check out the YMCA venue ahead of time, where she got to the witness the preparations—building the stage, setting up cameras, testing teleprompters, etc. “That was when it really sunk in, that I would be up there speaking behind a podium with the presidential seal,” she wrote in an email.

She and her dad chatted with Biden backstage before she introduced him, which she said was a blast and a bit surreal. “He and my father exchanged low-quality dad jokes and then the President took my side on a little debate my dad and I had about how deferential daughters should be to their fathers when writing presidential introductions. (Take that, dad!),” she added.

The audience included local politicians, health care policy experts, families like hers, members of the press, and some of New Hampshire's congressional delegation.

She got a chance to speak with New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan and also gave interviews to reporters (check out this clip with NBCBoston).