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The first Black and Indian-American woman to represent California in the United States Senate, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris grew up believing in the promise of America and fighting to make sure that promise is fulfilled for all Americans. Harris’ father immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica to study economics and her mother immigrated from India. Harris’ mother told her growing up, “Don’t sit around and complain about things, do something,” which is what drives Harris every single day.
“MY MOTHER WOULD LOOK AT ME AND SHE’D SAY, ‘KAMALA, YOU MAY BE THE FIRST TO DO MANY THINGS, BUT MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT THE LAST.’”
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Harris started fighting for working families in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, where she focused on prosecuting child sexual assault cases. From there, she became the first Black woman elected as San Francisco’s District Attorney. In this position, she started a program to provide first-time drug offenders second chances with the opportunity to earn a high school degree and find a job.
In 2010, Harris became the first Black woman to be elected Attorney General of California, overseeing the country’s second largest Justice Department after the U.S. Department of Justice. In this capacity, she managed a $735 million budget and oversaw more than 4,800 attorneys and other employees. As California Attorney General, Harris fought for families and won a $20 billion settlement for California homeowners against big banks that were unfairly foreclosing on homes.
Harris worked to protect Obamacare, helped win marriage equality for all, defended California’s landmark climate change law and won a $1.1 billion settlement against a for-profit education company that scammed students and veterans. Harris also fought for California communities and prosecuted transnational gangs who drove human trafficking, gun smuggling, and drug rings.
“AT EVERY STEP OF THE WAY, I’VE BEEN GUIDED BY THE WORDS I SPOKE FROM THE FIRST TIME I STOOD IN A COURTROOM: KAMALA HARRIS, FOR THE PEOPLE.”KAMALA HARRIS, AUGUST 19, 2020
During her time as a U.S. Senator, Harris has introduced and co-sponsored legislation to help the middle class, increase the minimum wage to $15, reform cash bail, and defend the legal rights of refugees and immigrants.
Harris has served on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where she has fought to protect Americans’ civil rights, restore independence and integrity to the Justice Department, and scrutinized nominations coming before the Committee
On the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Harris has dealt with the nation’s most sensitive national security and international threats. She also has served on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee where she has overseen the federal government’s response to natural disasters and emergencies, including the Trump administration’s response to COVID-19.
Harris graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and earned a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law.
Harris has been married to her husband Doug Emhoff for the past six years. She is the stepmother of two children, Cole and Ella, who call her “Momala” and are her “endless source of love and pure joy.”