Five historical facts and firsts about Kamala Harris
Sen. Kamala Harris, 56, (Democrat-California), has made history becoming the first woman to earn the title of vice president-elect after former Vice President Joe Biden was declared president-elect of the United States. Below are historical facts about the Harris phenomenon.
- As daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, she will be the first woman and first Black and South Asian-American to assume the role of vice president.
- An alumnus of Howard University, she will be the first vice president to have graduated from a historically Black college and be a member of a Black sorority.
- Harris ran her own presidential campaign this year before joining the Democratic ticket as Biden’s running mate. She made her mark in politics in California, where she served as San Francisco district attorney before going on to become attorney general of the state — the first African-American to serve in that role.
- Harris’ background as a prosecutor has made her a target of criticism from progressives seeking criminal justice reform. But Harris has argued she’s sought reform from within her roles as a prosecutor. As San Francisco District Attorney, she promised to never seek the death penalty and kept that promise even when prosecuting a person accused of killing a San Francisco Police Department officer thus angering her political allies. But she also took heat for other policies such as a campaign to combat truancy in San Francisco in an effort to reduce crime.
- She took her prosecutorial chops to the U.S. Senate after being elected in 2016. Her skills helped her become a tough interrogator in confirmation hearings for people like Attorney General William Barr and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. She also serves on committees for Intelligence, Homeland Security and Budget.
Throughout her campaign, Harris has shared a quote from her mother, Shyamala, who she said would often tell her, “you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last.”
She has a stronger supporter is her sister, Maya Harris, who led her presidential campaign with uncommon devotion and commitment even as a volunteer.