Everything you need to know about Kamala Harris, Biden's Running Mate
Who is Kamala Harris? She is the daughter of an Indian mother and Jamaican father who met in Berkeley during the social protest movement of the 1960s.
She wanted to get into law enforcement to change the system from the inside. However, as district attorney and then as the attorney general — and the first Black woman to hold those jobs — she found herself constantly negotiating a middle ground between two powerful forces: the police and the left, in one of the most liberal states in America.
When Harris first ran for San Francisco district attorney in 2004, she faced off against two men: Terence Hallinan and lawyer Bill Fazio.
Harris would finish second in the initial election before beating Hallinan with 13 points in the runoff.
One of Hallinan's weak spots was his handling of "Fajita gate" — which began in 2002 with a street fight between three off-duty police officers and residents over a takeout bag of fajitas. Hallinan charged the city's police chief, Prentice Sanders, in connection to the ordeal, only to later drop the charges once he was unable to prove a cover-up effort. The tremendously helped pave a path for Harris' eventual victory.
Some progressives have taken an issue with Harris naming herself as a "progressive prosecutor," pointing to a number of her actions as San Francisco district attorney and as California's top cop.
Since becoming California’s attorney general in 2011, she had largely avoided intervening in cases involving killings by the police. Protesters in Oakland distributed fliers saying: “Tell California Attorney General Kamala Harris to prosecute killer cops! It’s her job!”
However, during the national outrage due to the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., came pleas for her to investigate a series of police shootings in San Francisco, in areas where she had previously been district attorney. However, she did not step in. She said it was not her job.
Kamala Harris also discussed her positions on marijuana: She supports marijuana legalization, bringing light to the fact that men of colour have been disproportionately arrested for drug offences, but also she also stated that she wants to “research the impact of weed on a developing brain” and has a concern that it’s difficult to determine when drivers are impaired by pot.
Harris also supports the creation of a government funding program to pay tuition and fees for students attending public colleges and universities for dependent students whose parents have an income of $125,000 or less and independent students with incomes of $125,000 or less. This program would be funded by a fee on Wall Street firms of 0.5 per cent per stock trade. Regarding student loans, Kamala Harris proposed of having up to $20,000 in student debt forgiven for Pell Grant recipients who start a business and operate it for at least three years in a disadvantaged community. Eligible students would also have loans deferred interest free for a business formation period of up to three years. This will help relieve at least some of the stress faced by these college students.
Harris has also earned an "F" rating from the NRA for her consistent efforts supporting gun control. While serving as district attorney in San Francisco Harris, along with other district attorneys, she had filed an amicus brief in District of Columbia v. Heller arguing that the Washington, D.C. gun law at issue did not violate the Second Amendment.
In January 2019, Harris joined Bernie Sanders and 38 other Senate Democrats in introducing the Background Check Expansion Act, a bill that would require background checks for either the sale or transfer of all firearms including all unlicensed sellers. Exceptions to the bill's background check requirement included transfers between members of law enforcement, loaning firearms for either hunting or sporting events on a temporary basis, providing firearms as gifts to members of one's immediate family, firearms being transferred as part of an inheritance, or giving a firearm to another person temporarily for immediate self-defence.
Harris opposed California's ban on affirmative action. She asked the Supreme Court to "reaffirm its decision that public colleges and universities may consider race as one factor in admissions decisions." Harris filed legal papers in the Supreme Court case supporting race as an admissions factor at the University of Texas. She also filed papers supporting affirmative action in a different Supreme Court case involving the University of Michigan.
In July 2019, Attorney General William Barr announced the federal government's resumption of capital punishment after nearly 20 years without execution of a federal inmate. Harris, having been opposed to the death penalty, criticized the bill as a "misguided," "immoral, gross misuse of taxpayer dollars." Harris also co-sponsored a bill banning the death penalty.
In December 2018, Harris voted for the First Step Act, legislation aimed at reducing recidivism rates among federal prisoners through expanding job training and other programs.
Did Harris actually call Biden a racist?
Harris did not explicitly call Biden a racist. She took a shot at Biden for not supporting busing in America during the 1970s, during a Democratic debate last year. However, Biden later cleared his stance on busing and said that he supported "voluntary" busing, but he opposed "involuntary" busing.
Reporter: Adithi S