Kamala Harris is the junior US Senator from California. Before coming to the Senate, Harris served as California’s attorney general. Harris is seen as a rising star among Democrats and she is often mentioned as a possible candidate for president in 2020. Harris has been leading the charge against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. She is seen as a champion of progressive causes and a vocal opponent of President Donald Trump.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Harris Says She ‘Isn’t Ruling Out’ a Presidential Run in 2020
Back in June, Harris did an interview on MSNBC’s “KasieDC. At first, Harris brushed aside questions about whether she plans to run for president. “I’m focused on a lot of other things as a higher priority,” Harris said. She said that the 2018 midterm elections, which may see Democrats gain seats in Congress, were a more immediate concern for her, and she said that the midterms were a higher priority for her than the 2020 presidential race.
But, when she was pressed about a presidential run Harris said, “I’m not ruling it out, no.” Harris, 53, is the daughter of immigrants and grew up in California. Her father is Jamaican American and her mother immigrated from Tamil Nadu, in India, to study at the University of California.
2. A Washington Post Poll Ranks Harris Fifth on a List of Possible 2020 Candidates
A poll published by the Washington Post asked people to rank Democrats according to their name recognition and whether they would consider voting for them. You can see that poll here.
Harris ranked number five on that poll, coming in behind Joe Biden, Bernie Sander, Elizabeth Warren, and Hillary Clinton. Notably, she ranked higher than Oprah Winfrey. She also did significantly better than Democratic standard bearers like Andrew Cuomo and Bill DeBlasio.
3. Harris Has Been a High-Profile Opponent of Kavanaugh
Harris sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has been holding confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. Harris used her seat on the committee to question Kavanaugh about his possible connection to the Mueller probe. Harris’s persistent questions — and Kavanaugh’s awkward responses — went viral, prompting some to wonder whether Harris was trying to raise her profile for a possible presidential run.
Since then, a number of women have come forward to accuse Kavanaugh of sexually inappropriate behavior. Harris has been a strong supporter of Kavanaugh’s accusers, tweeting regularly about the need for an investigation into Kavanaugh’s alleged behavior. The Wall Street Journal reported that Harris had taken out dozens of anti-Kavanaugh ads the day before a hearing into the Supreme Court nominee. The Wall Street Journal reported that anyone who clicked on the ads was redirected to Harris’s campaign page and asked whether they want to make a donation. Harris is not up for re-election to the Senate.
4. Harris Has Made a Name for Herself Defending Immigrants
Harris has used her platform as senator to speak out on behalf of DREAMers and to call for the rights of all immigrants to be defended. She was an outspoken opponent of the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the US-Mexico border She has also spoken out in defense of DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Harris says that as a California native, defending DACA comes naturally:
“It is about being the voice of a state with … the largest number of Dreamers,” Harris told the Sacramento Bee. “They must be seen and heard, and I feel a very strong sense of responsibility to use every component of power that I have in terms of my voice and ability to educate the public to make sure they are seen and not vilified.”
5. Harris Was Born in California to Immigrant Parents
Kamala Harris was born in 1964 in Oakland, California. Her father, who was originally from Jamaica, taught economics at Stanford University. Her mother, originally from Tamil Nadu in India, was a cancer researcher. Her maternal grandfather was an Indian diplomat.
Harris’s sister Maya is a public policy advocate.
Harris studied public policy at Howard University before going on to earn a law degree at Hastings College. She served as assistant district attorney in Oakland and then was elected California’s attorney general in 2010.
Harris is married to Douglas Emhoff, an intellectual property rights lawyer. Emhoff has three children from a previous marriage.
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