SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday announced California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate for the 2020 election.
Biden makes history by selecting the first Black woman to compete on a major party’s presidential ticket and acknowledging the vital role Black voters will play in his bid to defeat President Donald Trump.
Biden confirmed the news on Twitter, calling Harris “a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants.”
“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked KamalaHarris – a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants – as my running mate,” Biden tweeted. In a text message to supporters, Biden said, “Together, with you, we’re going to beat Trump.”
Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington.
In choosing Harris, Biden is embracing a former rival from the Democratic primary who is familiar with the unique rigor of a national campaign. Harris, a 55-year-old first-term senator, is also one of the party’s most prominent figures and quickly became a top contender for the No. 2 spot after her own White House campaign ended.
Harris joins Biden in the 2020 race at a moment of unprecedented national crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people in the U.S., far more than the toll experienced in other countries. Business closures and disruptions resulting from the pandemic have caused an economic collapse. Unrest, meanwhile, has emerged across the country as Americans protest racism and police brutality.
Some speculate the “do not hold grudges” talking point may refer to a heated exchange between the pair during the first Democratic debate in June 2019 when Harris called Biden out on his civil rights record.
Other running mate candidates Biden was reportedly considering included New Mexico Governor Michelle Grisham, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth.
She was born Kamala Devi Harris on Oct 20, 1964 in Oakland to immigrant parents – her father from Jamaica and her mother a native of India.
Harris grew up with “a stroller-eye view of the Civil Rights movement,” according to the bio on her website, which helped push her resolve to spend her life advocating for others.
She earned her undergraduate degree in political science and economics from Howard University and later graduated from the University of California, Hastings with a law degree in 1989.
“During my freshman year at Howard University, almost every weekend was spent at the Mall protesting apartheid and calling for divestment,” she wrote in her 2019 book “The Truths We Hold: An American Journey.”
Harris’ career began as the deputy district attorney in Alameda County from 1990 to 1998, where she prosecuted various cases including gang violence, sexual abuse, and drug trafficking.
After that, she became managing attorney at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office then moved on to become chief of the San Francisco City Attorney’s Division on Children and Families.
In 2003, she became the San Francisco District Attorney, where she started a program that gives first-time drug offenders the chance to earn a high-school diploma and find unemployment.
After two terms as San Francisco DA, Harris was elected as the first African-American and first woman to serve as Attorney General of California, her role from 2011 to 2016.
In 2017, Harris was sworn in as a United States Senator for California, the second African-American woman and first South Asian-American senator in history.
It was in 2017 that Harris drew nationwide attention for her questions to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was testifying before the intelligence committee on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
She serves on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on the Judiciary, and the Committee on the Budget.
While on the Judiciary Committee, Harris again drew national attention in 2018 for her pointed questioning of Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault after being nominated for the Supreme Court in 2018.
On Jan. 21 Harris announced she was running for president in 2020.
A week later, Harris officially kicked off her campaign before thousands of supporters at Frank Ogawa Plaza in her hometown of Oakland.
After nearly a year of campaigning, Harris suspended her campaign on Dec. 3, citing a lack of funds as the reason she could not continue.
“I’ve taken stock and looked at this from every angle, and the last few days have come to one of the hardest decisions of my life,” she wrote in a letter to her supporters. “My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue.”
According to the Associated Press, Harris raised $12 million in the first three months of her campaign and locked down major endorsements meant to show her dominance in her home state of California, which offer the biggest delegate haul in the Democratic primary contest.
Her stance on certain issues
In the past, Harris has proposed executive actions to counter gun violence, including banning assault weapons and near-universal background checks administered by people who sell over 5 guns a year.
Harris has also been vocal about her support for Medicare and her opposition to tax increases on middle-income Americans.
Harris is in favor of decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level and has proposed regulating marijuana and expunging prior marijuana convictions.
Most recently, Harris spoke with KRON4’s Pam Moore about the killing of George Floyd, the nationwide protests, and the responses from President Trump.
In that same interview, Harris said she was working with senators and members of the Congressional Black Caucus to put together a legislation package to reform policing in America. One of the proposals would be more independent investigations, Harris said.
Harris has also been an outspoken critic of Trump, having in the past referred to him as a “dictator.”
Harris has also made waves for her refusal to defend Proposition 8, a 2008 measure on the California ballot that was deemed unconstitutional by a federal court.
After the US Supreme Court dismissed an attempt to appeal the ruling in 2013, Harris officiated the first same-sex marriage in California since Prop 8 was officially enacted.
Path to VP, relationship with Biden
In recent months, Harris has been supportive of Biden, but it wasn’t always that way.
Just a little over a year ago, Harris criticized comments by Biden while on the debate stage in Miami.
“Do you agree that today you were wrong to oppose busing in America?” Harris asked Biden during the debate.
“There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day,” she said. “And that little girl was me.”
At that time, Biden called her comments “a mischaracterization of my position.”
By the time Harris suspended her campaign, her relationship with Biden began to improve.
Harris ended up endorsing Biden for president and appeared on stage with him at a rally in Michigan the day before the March 10 primary.
“Joe Biden has served our county with dignity and we need him now more than ever,” Harris tweeted along with a video endorsement. “I will do everything in my power to help elect him the next President of the United States.”
Although Biden’s campaign has since been suspended due to the pandemic, Harris has since campaigned virtually for Biden and headlined events and fundraisers.
Recently President Donald Trump voiced his opinion on Harris as Biden’s pick for a running mate.
On his way to Texas for a political fundraiser, Trump said Harris would make a “fine choice” as Biden’s pick.
What happens now?
Biden and Harris will be accepting the nomination for president and vice president at the upcoming Democratic National Convention.
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