WASHINGTON – The wait is over. Former Vice President Joe Biden has selected California Sen. Kamala Harris to be his VP running mate in the 2020 election showdown against President Donald Trump.
This historic move makes Harris the first African American and South Asian woman to be on a major United States presidential ticket.
For months, Biden’s committee conducted interviews, narrowing the field down to 11 women, before ultimately deciding on Harris.
Biden and Harris will formally accept the Democratic nominations during the party’s convention held virtually next week.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) said the appointment of Harris as Biden’s running mate is a “defining moment in U.S. history.”
“This moment is long overdue. For far too long, we have undervalued Black women’s political power and their role in shaping our culture, communities, and country,” Derrick Johnson, the president and CEO of the NAACP, said in the statement Tuesday.
He added that, “Black women have been at the forefront of moving us toward a more representative and unified society” but their representation within high levels of government never matched “their unwavering participation in our democracy.”
Harris, a 55-year-old first-term senator, showed she can hold her own as a fierce debater in the Democratic presidential primary. Born in Oakland, California, she is a graduate of Howard University and University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Harris 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 the 27th District Attorney of San Francisco, serving until 2011.
Harris was narrowly elected Attorney General of California in 2010, and was re-elected in 2014. Harris faced criticism from reformers for tough-on-crime policies she pursued while she was California’s attorney general. In November 2016, she defeated Loretta Sanchez in the 2016 Senate election to succeed outgoing Senator Barbara Boxer, becoming California’s third female senator, the second African American woman and the first South Asian American to serve in the United States Senate. As a senator, she has supported healthcare reform, federal descheduling 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 after her pointed questioning of Trump administration officials during Senate hearings, including U.S. Attorneys General Jeff Sessions and William Barr, and Associate Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Harris ran for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2020 election, briefly becoming a frontrunner before ending her campaign on December 3, 2019, citing a lack of funds to continue.