Sen. Kamala Devi Harris
Born: October 20, 1964
Birthplace: Oakland, California
Age on Inauguration Day: 56
Party affiliation: Democrat
Campaign website: kamalaharris.org
Education: Hastings University (Bachelor’s degree in political science and economics); UC Hastings College of Law (Juris Doctor)
Professions: Prosecuting attorney
Public office: San Francisco district attorney (2004-2011); California attorney general (2011-2016); U.S. Senator from California, elected in 2016.
Personal: Harris and husband, Douglas Emhoff, have been married since 2014. She is stepmother to Emhoff's two children.
Life and career highlights
- First name is pronounced KAH-mah-lah.
- Her parents are immigrants. Her father is Jamaican and her mother is Indian.
- First woman to be elected California attorney general.
- As attorney general, she refused to defend California’s ban on same-sex marriage (Proposition 8), saying “it violates the Constitution.”
- Helped deliver a $25-billion nationwide settlement in 2012 with five mortgage companies over abuses during the foreclosure crisis. However, Harris was criticized for reportedly not delivering everything she initially promised.
- Harris’ prosecutorial record came under scrutiny in a Jan. 17, 2019, opinion piece in The New York Times that criticized her repeated claim that she was a "progressive prosecutor.” Law professor Lara Bazelon claimed Harris opposed or ignored progressive efforts at criminal justice reforms. Harris has argued it was a "false choice" to decide between supporting the police and advocating for greater scrutiny of law enforcement.
- Known for tough questioning as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Received support via social media after she was interrupted by colleagues as she was questioning witnesses.
Sources: Britannica.com; New York Times; Ballotpedia; Associated Press, LA Times; Reuters; NBC News