Kamala Harris makes history as vice-presidential candidate

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Kamala Harris

Crusader Staff Report

Frontrunner Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden named California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, ending months of speculation while making history after a Black woman for the first time was tapped as a vice presidential candidate for the nation’s highest office.

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris meet publicly for the first time Wednesday, August 12, 2020 in Wilmington, DE after Harris is named Biden’s vice-presidential running mate. (Joe Biden Instagram)

To insiders, it was an expected decision with Harris’ background as a senator, attorney general, prosecutor and former Democratic rival who criticized Biden in a debate during the campaign season.

Biden tweeted his decision Tuesday, saying, “I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate.”

In response, Harris on Twitter, said “@JoeBiden can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals. I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.”

Harris, 55 is the third woman to serve as a vice presidential candidate for a major political party, following Geraldine Ferraro as the Democratic vice-presidential pick in 1984 and Sarah Palin as the Republican vice-presidential pick in 2008.

Biden was under pressure to select a Black woman as his running mate after Black voters in South Carolina last February saved his political campaign following embarrassing defeats in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

For months, Biden vetted his short list of candidates of Black women, including Harris, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Congresswoman Karen Bass and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who was considered a long shot because of lack of political experience in federal government.

In response to Biden’s choice, South Carolina Congressman and House Minority Whip Jim Clyburn tweeted, “I’m ecstatic. We are breaking ground in such a way that every person in this country irrespective of gender or color is going to be very proud.”

Clyburn played a key role in Biden’s race for the White House after endorsing him before the South Carolina Primary. He applauded Biden’s choice on Twitter, saying “I am very pleased with @JoeBiden’s decision to choose @KamalaHarris as his VP. Those of us who have been battling for years now trying to move this country forward toward a more perfect union are very pleased. I think all women in this nation can be proud of this moment.”

In a statement, Reverend Jesse Jackson said “She’s a solid, sound and safe candidate. She’s more than an able debater and she’ll make us all proud.”

Former President Barack Obama said “I’ve known Senator @KamalaHarris for a long time. She is more than prepared for the job. She’s spent her career defending our Constitution and fighting for folks who need a fair shake. This is a good day for our country. Now let’s go win this thing.”

U.S. Congressman Danny K. Davis in a statement on Biden selection of Kamala Harris as Vice President running mate said, “Joe Biden’s historic selection of Senator Kamala Harris bodes well for their campaign and for the future of our nation. Senator Harris is not only a charismatic and relentless campaigner, but her life experience and accomplishments have prepared her to be a full partner with Joe in leading our nation in a new, healthier, more just and more prosperous direction.

“I look forward to redoubling my efforts to ensure the Biden/Harris team not only achieves an overwhelming victory in November, but has the support they need in the Congress to move on Day One to reversing the damage done by the current administration and moves to, not just return us to the status quo, but to “Build Back Better.”

U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) issued the following statement regarding Joe Biden’s selection of Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif). as his vice presidential running mate:

“It is at this moment I reflect on my granddaughter, Sanii, who is entering her first year in high school. Her world has just been expanded. Her future has just been enlarged. And the ambitions of her and other young Black girls have become that much closer to being realized thanks to Kamala’s tenacity and Joe Biden’s genius in selecting her as his running mate.

“As I said when I first endorsed her during the primary, Kamala is a once-in-a-lifetime leader, who is uniquely qualified to help Joe Biden take on this dishonest and disobedient administration, and I look forward to seeing her trounce them this November.

“I’ve worked on a number of initiatives with Kamala during her time in the Senate, and I cannot wait to continue to work with her when she’s in the White House come this January.”

Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP said in a statement, “Today’s announcement of a Black woman, Senator Kamala Harris, as the first vice-presidential candidate of a major political party, breaks down one of these barriers in historic proportions. That it comes at a time in which Black Americans face dueling threats from a global health crisis and ingrained racism is all the more powerful.

“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.

“The selection of Senator Harris as a vice-presidential candidate on a major party ticket is the culmination of the tireless work of Shirley Chisolm, Charlene Mitchell, Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer, Barbara Jordan, Ida B. Wells, and Myrlie Evers in their fight for representation and equality.

“Their sacrifices, told and untold, made it possible for Senator Harris to make political history today. Regardless of party affiliation, every American should be proud that this milestone was finally reached.”

Biden’s choice comes less than a week before the virtual Democratic National Conventional in Milwaukee.

The speaking lineup includes a number of party stars that represent the ideological spectrum, including former President Bill Clinton and wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Former President Barack and first lady Michelle Obama are also scheduled to speak.

As the first Black woman to run as vice president on a major party ticket, all eyes will be on Harris.

Born in Oakland to a Jamaican father and Indian mother, Harris won her first election in 2003 when she became San Francisco’s district attorney. In the role, she created a reentry program for low-level drug offenders and cracked down on student truancy.

During her campaign for the Democratic nomination, Harris was accused of being an overzealous prosecutor who put behind bars many Black males.

In 2010, Harris was elected California’s attorney general, becoming the first woman and Black person to hold the job, and focused on issues including the foreclosure crisis. She declined to defend the state’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage and was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

As her national profile grew, Harris built a reputation around her work as a prosecutor. After being elected to the Senate in 2016, she quickly gained attention for her assertive questioning of Trump administration officials during congressional hearings. In one memorable moment last year, Harris tripped up Attorney General William Barr when she repeatedly pressed him on whether Trump or other White House officials pressured him to investigate certain people.

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