First Female US Vice-PresidentAbout This Expert
In 2017, Kamala D. Harris was sworn in as a United States Senator for California, the second African-American woman and first South Asian-American senator in history. 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.
Kamala has spent her life fighting injustice. It’s a passion that was first inspired by her mother, Shyamala, an Indian-American immigrant, activist, and breast cancer researcher.
Growing up in Oakland, Kamala had a stroller-eye view of the Civil Rights movement. Through the example of courageous leaders like Thurgood Marshall, Constance Baker Motley, and Charles Hamilton Houston, Kamala learned the kind of character it requires to stand up to the powerful, and resolved to spend her life advocating for those who could not defend themselves.
After earning an undergraduate degree from Howard University and a law degree from the University of California, Hastings, she began her career in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.
In 2003, Kamala became the District Attorney of the City and County of San Francisco. Among her achievements as District Attorney, Harris started a program that gives first-time drug offenders the chance to earn a high school diploma and find employment.
Having completed two terms as the District Attorney of San Francisco, Kamala was elected as the first African-American and first woman to serve as California’s Attorney General. In this role, she worked tirelessly to hold corporations accountable and protect the state’s most vulnerable people.
Over the course of her nearly two terms in office, Kamala won a $25-billion settlement for California homeowners hit by the foreclosure crisis, defended California’s landmark climate change law, protected the Affordable Care Act, helped win marriage equality for all Californians, and prosecuted transnational gangs that trafficked in guns, drugs, and human beings.
In the United States Senate, Kamala’s mission remains unchanged: fighting for the rights of all communities in California. Since taking office, she has introduced and cosponsored legislation to raise wages for working people, reform our broken criminal justice system, make healthcare a right for all Americans, address the epidemic of substance abuse, support veterans and military families, and expand access to childcare for working parents.
It’s the privilege of Kamala’s life to work on behalf of the people of California. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Doug Emhoff, and is stepmother to Ella and Cole Emhoff.
Kamala Harris sees times of crisis in the world as a pathway to break down barriers and get the job done. Regardless of your political persuasion, we are now at a time to bridge the divide and to heal. Watch our interview with Vice President Harris in Aspen during the Aspen Ideas Festival.
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