Kamala Harris Biography
Sun Sign: Libra
Also Known As: Kamala Devi Harris
Born in: California
Famous as: US Senator
Spouse/Ex-: Douglas Emhoff (m. 2014)
father: Donald Harris
mother: Shyamala Gopalan
siblings: Maya Harris
education: C Hastings College of the Law (1989), Howard University (1986), Westmount High School
Kamala Devi Harris is an American attorney cum politician who has been serving as the junior US Senator from California since 2017. She serves on the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, the Committee on the Judiciary, the Committee on the Budget, and the Select Committee on Intelligence. An associate of the Democratic Party, she is the first South Asian-American woman and the second African-American woman to serve as a USA senator in the nation’s entire history. During her extensive career as a politician, Harris has always tried to adopt measures that encourage social progressivism. For instance, as San Francisco’s district attorney, she steadfastly refused to seek the death penalty for a man accused of murdering a police officier as she is opposed to capital punishment. Harris is one of those few politicians whose mission is to reform the entire system from within rather than by crusading from the outside. Born to a Tamil Indian physician mother and a black Stanford University professor, she grew up in an inter-cultural home. Always interested in social justice, she went on to become a lawyer. Following a successful legal career, she ventured into politics. As of early January 2019, she is considered a top candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president.
- Kamala Devi Harris was born on October 20, 1964 in California. Her mother, a Tamil Indian named Shyamala Gopalan Harris, worked as a breast cancer scientist. Her father, a Jamaican named Donald Harris, serves as a Stanford University economics professor.
- Harris was very close to her maternal grandfather, an Indian diplomat named P. V. Gopalan. She and her younger sister Maya went to both a Hindu temple and a black Baptist Church while growing up.
- When Harris was seven, her parents separated and her mother was given the custody of both the children. Subsequently, the sisters and their mother moved to Montreal, Québec, Canada.
- Harris studied at Westmount High School in Quebec and later attended Howard University in USA where she majored in political science and economics.
- In 1989, she returned to California and earned her Juris Doctor (J.D.) from University of California, Hastings College of the Law. The following year, she was admitted to the State Bar of California.
- From 1990 to 1998, Kamala Harris served as a deputy district attorney in Alameda County, California, prosecuting cases of robbery, murder, and child rape. In the late 1990s, she worked at the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.
- In 2000, Harris was recruited by Louise Renne, San Francisco's elected City Attorney, for the position of head of the Community and Neighborhood Division.
- In 2003, Harris defeated Terence Hallinan to become the San Francisco District Attorney. She is the first South-Asian and black woman to achieve the position. She was again re-elected in November 2007. As the D.A., she began a program that offers first-time drug dealers the opportunity to earn high school diploma and find jobs.
- In 2009, Harris got her book ‘Smart on Crime: A Career Prosecutor's Plan to Make Us Safer’ published. In the book, she attempted to analyse criminal justice from an economic perspective.
- She worked for the California District Attorney's Association as well as the National District Attorneys Association in different capacities in the 2010s.
- In 2010, she campaigned in the California Attorney General election, where she faced Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley. She emerged victorious and on January 3, 2011, she became the first Jamaican American woman and the first Indian American attorney general in California. In November 2014, she was re-elected against Ronald Gold.
- In the United States Senate election in California in 2016, Kamala Harris defeated Loretta Sanchez, winning 62 percent of the vote. On 3 January 2017, she was sworn in as the United States Senator from California. As of early 2019, there are speculations that she might be a contender for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president.
- As the San Francisco D.A., Kamala Harris developed a special Hate Crimes Unit that focussed on crimes against LGBT kids and teens. She supported same-sex marriage in California and opposed both the Proposition 8 and Proposition 22 which aimed to prevent same-sex unions.
- She introduced the California Homeowner's Bill of Rights that grants homeowners more "choices while fighting to keep their home". This bill banned "dual-tracking" and robo-signing and also gave the California Attorney General more power to investigate financial frauds and set up special grand juries to impeach multi-county crimes.
- On February 12, 2015, she announced that she would launch a new agency called ‘Bureau of Children's Justice’. The bureau was created later the same year. It focuses on issues like the juvenile justice system, foster care, childhood trauma, and school truancy.
- Kamala Harris is opposed to the death penalty although she believes in reviewing each case individually. Her position against the death penalty was tested in 2004 when SFPD Officer Isaac Espinoza was killed in the Bayview district. Following his murder, Harris stated that she would not seek the death penalty for the accused, David Hill. Eventually, he was given the maximum sentence: life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
- Harris' position against the death penalty was once again tested in 2009 in the case of Edwin Ramos who was accused of killing Tony Bologna and his two sons. Harris announced that she would seek life imprisonment without the possibility of parole instead of death penalty in this case.
- In many television interviews, she has argued for treating the "habitual and chronic truancy" among kids in elementary school as a crime committed by the parents of such children. She believes that there is a direct link between habitual absenteeism in elementary school and committing crimes later in life.
- During her time as the D.A. of San Francisco, Harris developed the Environmental Justice Unit in the attorney's office and prosecuted numerous industries for pollution, including Alameda Publishing Corporation and U-Haul. She also advocated for tough enforcement of environmental security laws.
- On April 6, 2017, in response to the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack, Kamala Harris charged the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, with assaulting and attacking Syrian kids. She stated that the president is not only a brutal dictator maltreating his own people, but is also a war criminal the other nations cannot ignore.
- On August 30, 2017, Harris declared that she would co-sponsor the "Medicare for All" bill and support single-payer healthcare.
- In February 2018, she was one of the senators to sign a letter arguing against President Trump's legal authority to commence an anticipatory strike against North Korea.
- In May 2018, after Trump declared that USA was withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Kamala Harris issued a statement on his decision, stating that the decision “jeopardizes our national security and isolates us from our closest allies.”
- In May 2018, Harris announced that she will co-sponsor the Marijuana Justice Act. The legislation will eliminate marijuana's prevailing status as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substance Act. Harris believes that the move to decriminalize marijuana will help prevent the Justice Department from enforcing unfair laws.
- In September 2018, she came forward to sponsor the Climate Risk Disclosure Act along with seven other senators.
- Harris is in the favour of more stringent gun control laws. Owing to her consistent support for gun control, she has earned an "F" rating from the National Rifle Association.
- The National Urban League hailed Harris as a "Woman of Power" in 2004.
- She was honoured with the Thurgood Marshall Award from the National Black Prosecutors Association in 2005.
- Kamala Harris has been married to Douglas Emhoff, a California attorney, since August 22, 2014. Through the marriage, she became the stepmother of two children.
- Her sister, Maya Harris, is a MSNBC political analyst. Her brother-in-law is Tony West, a former senior official at U.S. Justice Department and currently the General Counsel of Uber.
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