Considering you're about to get a whole lot more familiar with the name Kamala Harris, we thought we'd give you a little run-down of everything there is to know about the California Senator who's just been announced as Joe Biden's presidential running mate.
The US election takes place in November this year (yes, it really has been almost four years since that fateful night Donald Trump was announced as Obama's successor) and the Democrat nominee is Joe Biden. Biden, who served as Barack Obama's running mate in both the 2008 and 2012 elections, and went on to be Vice President of the United States, is gunning for the top job against Trump, and has just announced he has selected 55-year-old Senator Kamala Harris as his own running mate.
So who is Kamala Harris? What are her politics? What's her background? And what might she bring to the table?
1. Kamala Harris is already making history
When she was elected into the US Senate in 2016, Kamala Harris became only the second Black woman - and the first ever Indian woman - to have held such a role. The California senator is of Indian-Jamaican heritage; her mother Shyamala Gopalan was a cancer researcher from India, and her father Donald Harris an economist from Jamaica.
Speaking about her upbringing in her autobiography The Truths We Hold, Harris wrote: "My mother understood very well that she was raising two black daughters. She knew that her adopted homeland would see [younger sister] Maya and me as black girls and she was determined to make sure we would grow into confident, proud black women." Kamala Harris' first name (pronounced "comma-la"), means "lotus flower" in Sanskrit.
2. She's a former lawyer
After studying as an undergraduate (she majored in political science and economics) at Howard University in Washington, D.C., an institution known as an Historically Black College or University (HBCU), Harris then moved to San Francisco and attended the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law.
From there, she began her legal career as a Deputy District Attorney in Alameda County, California. In 2003, she was elected District Attorney of San Francisco, where she remained for two terms and focussed particularly in sex crimes. Eight years after that, in 2011, Harris became Attorney General of California, becoming both the first woman and person of colour ever to serve in that role.
3. She ran for President initially
In early 2019, Harris addressed a crowd of more than 20,000 in her birthplace of Oakland, California, to announce her 2020 bid for Presidency. She was met with enthusiasm, and initially looked to be running in third place behind Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, having increased her polling average from 6.7% to around 12% just one month after announcing her bid to run. But by the end of last year, Harris had withdrawn from the race altogether, citing lack of funds as the reason she couldn't continue.
4. She takes a firm stance on same-sex marriage
As Attorney General of California, Kamala Harris took a stand for marriage equality, helping to preserve the all-important same-sex marriage across the state. In 2008, a ballot known as 'Proposition 8' sought to ban gay marriage, and it was was approved by voters in California. However, a federal court struck down the ballot, which meant Harris was expected to defend it as Attorney General for the state. She refused to do this, stating that the ballot's measure was unconstitutional, and ultimately the appeal was dismissed, meaning same-sex marriage remained in place.
"I declined to defend Proposition 8 because it violates the Constitution," Harris said. "The Supreme Court has described marriage as a fundamental right 14 times since 1888. The time has come for this right to be afforded to every citizen."
5. She champions women and women's rights
In an interview with Cosmopolitan US during her short-lived presidential run, Kamala Harris explained: "One of the reasons I’m running for president is because I have a long-standing commitment to fighting for women’s rights. And this is a constitutional issue, as outlined by Roe v. Wade [the case that legalised abortion in the United States]. So I’m running for president to say, any state that passes a law that restricts a woman’s constitutional right to make decisions about her own body, that law is going to have to be reviewed by my Department of Justice to determine, does it comply with the constitution in Roe v. Wade? And if it does not, it will not go into effect. That’s what I’m prepared to do."
6. She's got some high-profile fans
During her presidential bid, Barack Obama endorsed Kamala Harris. He has long been a fan, it seems, describing Harris back in 2013 as "brilliant," "dedicated" and "tough," and since the news was announced that she'd be Joe Biden's running mate, that backing has only continued.
"Choosing a vice president is the first important decision a president makes... You need someone with you who’s got the judgment and the character to make the right call. Someone whose focus goes beyond self-interest to consider the lives and prospects of others. Joe Biden nailed this decision," said the former President in a statement. "By choosing Senator Kamala Harris as America’s next vice president, he’s underscored his own judgment and character."
He continued: "I’ve known Senator Harris for a long time. She is more than prepared for the job. She’s spent her career defending our Constitution and fighting for folks who need a fair shake... Michelle and I couldn’t be more thrilled for Kamala, Doug, Cole, and Ella. This is a good day for our country. Now let’s go win this thing."
Other celebrities including Taylor Swift, Mindy Kaling, Chrissy Teigen, Jessica Biel and more have posted on social media in celebration of Joe Biden's decision to select Kamala Harris as his running mate.
Roll on the November election...
Follow Cat on Instagram.
Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.
You Might Also Like