7 Things To Know About Kamala Harris’ Bid For Presidential Candidacy
The senator is making political waves and ready to take on the White House
After months of rumors, Kamala Harris (D-CA)has officially announced her candidacy for president of the United States.. The response to this announcement have been somewhat mixed, ranging from flattering comparisons to Shirley Chisholm to disappointing criticisms of her political career. Before casting any preliminary judgements on Harris, here are a few things to know about her political career.
Kamala Harris first began her career as a deputy district attorney for the Alameda County DA’s office until 2004, when she became the first woman to serve as the district attorney of San Francisco. She then went on to become the first Black woman to serve as the attorney general for the state of California. In 2017, Harris was elected to the Senate, making her the first Southeast Asian and second Black woman in California to be elected to this coveted seat. Given her history as a political pioneer, it is only natural that she become the first Southeast Asian and the second Black woman to ever run for president of the United States.
One of Kamala Harris’ favorite political actions as a California politician was to get behind legislation or lawsuits that tackled any key issues she believed were worth advocating for. She has co-sponsored a bill in 2017 that called for a reform of the cash bail system. Additionally, she introduced legislation to provide affordable higher education for students battling debt. When it comes to continuing policies from former President Barack Obama's legacy, she has supported the Affordable Care Act as well as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on behalf of the DREAMers.
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Kamala Harris spent most of her political career serving as a prosecutor for 25 years. Her decisions, particularly as an attorney general, have been criticized by many who believe her past decisions will inform the types of criminal justice policies she would put in place as president. A 2010 video resurfaced of Harris speaking on her time as San Francisco District Attorney. In the video, Harris discussed her anti-truancy bill which charged the parents of students who had more than 3 unexcused absences from school. Critics point to such admissions as examples of Harris's contribution to the intermingling of the education and criminal justice systems. Some are even equating her potential presidency to putting a police officer in the White House, drawing attention to her support for policies that sustained mass incarceration and harsher sentencing laws in California.
In 2018, Harris faced a lot of criticism after she released a statement defending her vote for the controversial FOSTA-SESTA legislation. She focused her decision on tackling Backpage.com and sex traffickers, but did not acknowledge how the bills would affect sex workers, who depend on this site and others like it as a screening tool and safety measure, in addition to supplying a steady income.. Although Harris framed her vote around Backpage and other online sex websites, she also has a past of fighting against the decriminalization of prostitution.
Prior to Auntie Maxine Waters’ “reclaiming my time” comments, Kamala Harris’ viral pressure toward the former U.S.attorney general during a Senate hearing.
I questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The American people don’t deserve evasion - we deserve the truth. pic.twitter.com/rIcE6ATDcl— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) June 14, 2017
For those outside of California, Harris’ questioning of Sessions put her on the radar of potential voters and campaign donors as someone who is not only “tough on crime,” but able to hold her ground in the midst of the intense hearings. Her interrogation tactics were likened to her time as a prosecutor, as she displayed a no-nonsense composure and swift demand for answers in the Senate case.
Harris has a thing for being at the forefront of asking the tough questions. During the Kavanaugh hearing, she cross-examined him on his willingness to probe an FBI investigation into the allegations of sexual assault against him, if were to be sworn in. She also requested answers regarding Robert Mueller’s investigation and women’s reproductive rights. After her interrogation, Harris was one of the many Democrats that voted no on his confirmation to the Supreme Court.
Within 24 hours of announcing her run for president, Harris raised enough money — over $1.5 million — from donors, tying Bernie Sanders’ fundraising record. She proudly broadcasted on her campaign website that she will not take any money from corporate PACs following in the footsteps of many politicians looking to present themselves as anti-establishment. She has also already snagged former staffers from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and might even get an endorsement from Barack Obama due to their past political connection.
Kamala Harris has a long way to go before voters start casting their ballots. But her rise through the high ranks of political power has both propelled her to the comfortable image of her as a presidential candidate, while also leaving behind a trail of contradictory stances throughout her career. As the 2020 presidential election nears, all eyes are on Harris as a top contender to bring the Trump house down and clean up a few messes along the way.
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