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US Election 2020 – Who is Kamala Harris?

US Election 2020, Kamala Harris
US election, Kamala Harris, Joe Bidden

Kamala Harris born on October 20, 1964, is an American politician and attorney who has served as the junior United States senator from California since 2017. She is the Democratic vice presidential nominee for the US Election 2020.

Here are some of the facts about Kamala Harris:

1. Kamala Harris Parents:

Harris was born on October 20, 1964, in Oakland, California. Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, a biologist whose work on the progesterone receptor gene stimulated work in breast cancer research, had arrived in the U.S. from India in 1958 as a 19-year-old graduate student in nutrition and endocrinology at the University of California, Berkeley. Gopalan received her PhD in 1964.

Kamala Harris’s  father, Donald J. Harris, is a Stanford University professor emeritus of economics, who arrived in the U.S. from British Jamaica in 1961 for graduate study at UC Berkeley, receiving a PhD in economics in 1966.

2. Childhood:

Along with her younger sister, Maya, Harris lived in Berkeley, California, briefly on Milvia Street in central Berkeley, then a duplex on Bancroft Way in West Berkeley, an area often called “the flatlands” with a significant Black population.

When Harris began kindergarten, she was bused as part of Berkeley’s comprehensive desegregation program to Thousand Oaks Elementary School, a public school in a more prosperous neighborhood in northern Berkeley which previously had been 95 percent white, and after the desegregation plan went into effect became 40 percent Black.

3. Went to both church and a temple:

A neighbor regularly took the Harris girls to an African American church (Black Baptist church) in Oakland where they sang in the children’s choir. Their mother introduced them to Hindu mythology and took them to a nearby Hindu temple, where she occasionally sang.

4. Dating Willie Brown:

Kamala Harris began dating with Willie Brown, a powerhouse in California politics who was then the speaker of the state assembly and was 30 years older than Harris. From his perch in the assembly, Brown appointed Harris to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and the Medical Assistance Commission—positions that together paid her around $80,000 a year on top of her prosecutor’s salary.

5. After being recruited to the San Francisco District Attorney’s office by a former colleague in Alameda, Harris cracked down on teenage prostitution in the city, reorienting law enforcement’s approach to focus on the girls as victims rather than as criminals selling sex.

During this time, Harris courted influential friends among San Francisco’s moneyed elite. In 2003, they would provide the financial backing to make her a formidable candidate in her first campaign for office

6. District attorney in 2003:

In 2003, she ran for district attorney in San Francisco against incumbent Terence Hallinan, her former boss. Her message, a top strategist on that campaign told POLITICO, was: “We’re progressive, like Terence Hallinan, but we’re competent like Terence Hallinan is not.”.

7. Kamala Harris most controversial decision:

One of Harris’ most controversial decisions came in 2004 when she declined to pursue the death penalty against the man who murdered San Francisco police officer Isaac Espinoza. At the funeral, Senator Dianne Feinstein delivered a eulogy in which she criticized Harris, who was in the audience, prompting a standing ovation from the hundreds of officers in attendance.

8. 0.8 Percent Victory to become a First woman Attorney General:

On November 12, 2008, Harris announced her candidacy for California attorney general. Both of California’s senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, House speaker Nancy Pelosi, United Farm Workers cofounder Dolores Huerta, and mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa all endorsed her during the primary.

In the general election, she faced Republican Los Angeles County district attorney Steve Cooley, who led most of the race. Cooley ran as a nonpartisan, distancing himself from the Meg Whitman campaign. The election was held November 2.

The race was so tight that on election night, Cooley made a victory speech and the San Francisco Chronicle declared him the winner. Three weeks later, all ballots having been counted, Harris was declared the victor by 0.8 percentage points. she is the first woman, the first African American, and the first South Asian American to hold the office of Attorney General in the state’s history.

9. Kamala Harris’ Husband:

Harris married attorney Douglas Emhoff, who was at one time partner-in-charge at Venable LLP’s Los Angeles office, on August 22, 2014, in Santa Barbara, California. Harris is a stepmother to Emhoff’s two children from his previous marriage to Kerstin Emhoff.

10. US Election 2020:

In May 2019, senior members of the Congressional Black Caucus endorsed the idea of a Joe Biden–Kamala Harris ticket. In late February, Biden won a landslide victory in the 2020 South Carolina Democratic primary with the endorsement of House whip Jim Clyburn, with more victories on Super Tuesday.

In early March, Clyburn suggested Biden choose a black woman as a running mate, commenting that “African American women needed to be rewarded for their loyalty.” In March, Biden committed to choosing a woman for his running mate and on April 17, 2020, Harris responded to media speculation and said she “would be honored” to be Biden’s running mate.

It would be interesting to see if voters in USA elect her as a next Vice President of America in this ongoing election!


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