Six Reasons Kamala Harris Is A Badass

August 12, 2020

Senator Kamala Harris

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that he selected California Senator Kamala Harris as his vice presidential running mate.

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,” the former vice president tweeted. In a follow up message, Biden stressed Harris’s experience working on behalf of the middle class and her long ties with the Biden family.

“Back when Kamala was Attorney General, she worked closely with Beau,” he wrote. “I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse. I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”

Harris herself tweeted her enthusiasm about joining the ticket. “I’m honored to join [Biden] as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief,” she wrote, noting that Biden would “build an America that lives up to our ideals.”

Ahead of next week’s Democratic National Convention, we’re taking a look at why Harris is a great pick to help lead the Democratic ticket to victory in November.

She is the first woman of color to be picked as the vice presidential nominee by a major party: Biden’s announcement makes Harris both the first African American and the first Indian American vice presidential pick. The daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, Harris has often spoken about the impact her parents’ civil rights activism in the 60s has had on her life. She once recalled to The Mercury News how her parents brought her to protests in a stroller.

She is always up for a challenge: As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Harris has sharply challenged Silicon Valley tech CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai to then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh about abortion rights and white supremacist groups. She also drew attention for her interrogation of Trump officials about the handling of Robert Mueller’s investigation and report and her remarks during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

She is an excellent debater: A longtime prosecutor, Harris was often the star of the often-crowded Democratic primary debates. She even went toe-to-toe with her now ticketmate in an emotional discussion about bussing.

She has long worked to address disparities in policing: As California’s Attorney General, Harris worked to address racial disparities in policing by implementing a certified implicit-bias training program for the state’s law enforcement agencies. The California Department of Justice was also the first California agency to require its officers and agents to wear body cameras. Harris has also often been a driving force behind the bill to ban lynching in the United States and is an active proponent of police reform.

She prioritizes the health and wellbeing of women and LGBTQ people: Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Harris has introduced bills to create a coronavirus taskforce to study the racial disparities when it comes to the virus. Improving maternal and infant health are also top priorities for the senator. As a sponsor of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act, she has spoken about the need to improve healthcare for mothers of color and the importance of addressing the disparities when it comes to prenatal care.

As District Attorney in 2004, Harris developed a hate crimes unit that primarily focused on crimes committed against LGBTQ students in San Francisco’s schools and was an early supporter of gay marriage in the state. 

She has worked to end recidivism: In her recent memoir, Harris wrote that she considered herself a “progressive prosecutor whose job it was “to see and address the causes of crime, not just their consequences, and to shine a light on the inequality and unfairness that lead to injustice.”

In 2005, Harris’s office created the “Back on Track” program, which focused on “reducing recidivism among low-level drug-trafficking defendants.” The Bureau of Justice Assistance reported that less than 10% of the program’s graduates would reoffend and the program became a model for many other District Attorneys across the country.