A Closer Look at Kamala Harris

By: Brooke Claflin

Often we focus on just a few key politicians in our government like the President, the Secretary of State, and maybe the Speaker of the House, while other key figures receive little attention. Therefore, I wanted to write this article about one politician that has inspired both myself and friends of mine with her accomplishments and her composure.

Kamala Harris is currently a Senator of California, having assumed office in January of this year. As an undergraduate Harris studied political science and economics at Howard University, right here in Washington, D.C. She then continued her education at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she earned her Juris Doctor (J.D.) in 1989. After being admitted to the State Bar of California in 1990, Harris began her career in law enforcement as a deputy district attorney in Alameda County, California.1

In the past Senator Harris served as District Attorney of San Francisco (2004-2011) and Attorney General of California (2011-2017). In the former position Harris strived to lower crime rates by doubling the conviction rates for gun felonies in San Francisco, gaining her the reputation as San Francisco’s top cop.2 Although Harris has faced some backlash for failing to do enough to take on the broken system that is the carceral state in California and prosecutorial misconduct, ultimately she has made important steps towards criminal-justice reform and demonstrated her own competence during both of these earlier appointments.3

Moreover, Harris’ victory this past January made her California’s first African American and Indian American senator from California.4 However, she need not be celebrated simply for her groundbreaking appointment because the article “Can Kamala Harris Live Up to the Hype?” in New Republic has proven to be largely without support5; as a senator Harris has served on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where she has fought for protecting undocumented victims of crime and has helped children that have entered the country alone to navigate the immigration process.6 More recently Senator Harris has spoken out against President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, promising her support for the 800,000 young people the decision will negatively impact.7

Regardless of one’s party affiliation Senator Harris can still be admired for her dedication to her country and also for her role in breaking barriers as only the second black woman to ever to serve in the Senate.8 In general, Kamala Harris has consistently demonstrated her willingness to fight for the oppressed and insure that justice prevails. Thus, I think she makes for an incredible role model, and I would be glad to see a Harris 2020 campaign.

1 https://www.thoughtco.com/california-attorney-general-kamala-harris-2834885 2 https://www.thoughtco.com/california-attorney-general-kamala-harris-2834885

3 https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/29/magazine/kamala-harris-a-top-cop-in-the-era-of-black-lives-matter.html?_r=0

4 http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-senate-race-kamala-harris-wins-20161108-story.html 5 https://newrepublic.com/article/139761/can-kamala-harris-live-hype
6 https://www.harris.senate.gov/content/about-kamala

7 https://www.harris.senate.gov/content/senator-harris-statement-trump’s-decision-end-dacadeclaración-de-la-senadora-harris-sobre-la

8 Carol Moseley Braun (D-IL) was the first black woman to ever serve in the Senate from 1993 to 1997.