Harris, Kamala, 1964-
Kamala Devi Harris (born October 20, 1964) is an American politician and attorney serving as the 49th vice president of the United States. A member of the Democratic Party, she served as a United States senator from California from 2017 to 2021, and as the attorney general of California from 2011 to 2017.
Harris became the vice president upon inauguration in January 2021 alongside President Joe Biden, having defeated the incumbent president, Donald Trump, and vice president, Mike Pence, in the 2020 election. She is the United States' first female vice president, the highest-ranking female elected official in U.S. history, the first African American vice president, and the first Asian American vice president.
Born in Oakland, California, Harris graduated from Howard University and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She began her career in the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, before being recruited to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office and later the City Attorney of San Francisco's office. In 2003, she was elected district attorney of San Francisco. She was elected Attorney General of California in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. Harris served as the junior United States senator from California from 2017 to 2021. Harris defeated Loretta Sanchez in the 2016 Senate election to become the second African American woman and the first South Asian American to serve in the United States Senate. As a senator, she advocated for healthcare reform, federal de-scheduling of cannabis, a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, the DREAM Act, a ban on assault weapons, and progressive tax reform. She gained a national profile for her pointed questioning of Trump administration officials during Senate hearings, including Trump's second Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault.
Harris sought the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, but dropped out of the race prior to the primaries. Former vice president Joe Biden had selected Harris as his running mate in August 2020.
Harris was born in Oakland, California, on October 20, 1964. Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, a biologist whose work on the progesterone receptor gene stimulated advances in breast cancer research, had arrived in the United States from Tamil Nadu in India in 1958 as a 19-year-old graduate student in nutrition and endocrinology at the University of California, Berkeley; Gopalan received her PhD in 1964. Harris' father, Donald J. Harris, is a Stanford University professor emeritus of economics, who arrived in the United States from British Jamaica in 1961 for graduate study at UC Berkeley, receiving a PhD in economics in 1966. Along with her younger sister, Maya, Harris lived in Berkeley, California, briefly on Milvia Street in central Berkeley, then a duplex on Bancroft Way in West Berkeley, an area often called "the flatlands" with a significant black population.
After more than 20 years as a U.S. Senator from California, Senator Barbara Boxer announced in January 2015 that she would not run for reelection in 2016. Harris announced her candidacy for the Senate seat the following week. Harris was a top contender from the beginning of her campaign.
The 2016 California Senate election used California's new top-two primary format where the top two candidates in the primary would advance to the general election regardless of party. In February 2016, Harris won 78% of the California Democratic Party vote at the party convention, allowing Harris's campaign to receive financial support from the party. Three months later, Governor Jerry Brown endorsed her. In the June 7 primary, Harris came in first with 40% of the vote and won with pluralities in most counties. Harris faced congresswoman and fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez in the general election. It was the first time a Republican did not appear in a general election for the Senate since California began directly electing senators in 1914.
On July 19, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden endorsed Harris. In the November 2016 election, Harris defeated Sanchez, capturing over 60% of the vote, carrying all but four counties. Following her victory, she promised to protect immigrants from the policies of President-elect Donald Trump and announced her intention to remain Attorney General through the end of 2016.
Following the election of Joe Biden as U.S. president in the 2020 election, Harris assumed office as vice president of the United States on January 20, 2021. She is the first female vice president, as well as the first person of color to hold the post since Charles Curtis, a Native American, who served under Herbert Hoover from 1929 to 1933. She is also the third person with acknowledged non-European ancestry to reach one of the highest offices in the executive branch, after Curtis and former President Barack Obama.
Harris resigned her Senate seat on January 18, 2021, two days before her swearing-in as Vice President. Her first act as Vice President was swearing-in her replacement - Alex Padilla - and Georgia Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff who were elected in the 2021 Georgia runoff elections.
Harris met her husband, attorney Doug Emhoff, through a mutual friend who set up Harris and Emhoff on a blind date in 2013. Emhoff was an entertainment lawyer who became partner-in-charge at Venable LLP's Los Angeles office. Harris and Emhoff were married on August 22, 2014, in Santa Barbara, California. Harris is a stepmother to Emhoff's two children from his previous marriage to the film producer Kerstin Emhoff. As of August 2019, Harris and her husband had an estimated net worth of $5.8 million.
Harris is a multiracial American and a Baptist, holding membership of the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, a congregation of the American Baptist Churches USA. Her sister, Maya, is a lawyer and MSNBC political analyst; her brother-in-law, Tony West, is general counsel of Uber and a former United States Department of Justice senior official. Her niece, Meena, is the founder of the Phenomenal Women Action Campaign and former head of strategy and leadership at Uber.
HARRIS, Kamala Devi, a Senator from California; born in Oakland, Calif., October 20, 1964; B.A., Howard University, 1986; J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 1989; admitted to the California bar in 1990; deputy district attorney, Alameda County, Calif., 1990-1998; managing attorney, San Francisco District Attorney’s Office; chief of the San Francisco City Attorney’s Division on Children and Families; district attorney of San Francisco 2004-2011; attorney general of California 2011-2016; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 2016 and served from January 3, 2017, until January 18, 2021, when she resigned to become Vice President; was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, but was elected Vice President of the United States on the Democratic ticket headed by Joseph R. Biden, Jr. in 2020.