Udayavni Special

Joe Biden selects Kamala Harris as running mate

PTI, Aug 12, 2020, 8:48 AM IST

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has named Indian-origin senator Kamala Harris as his vice-presidential running mate, making history by electing the first black woman to compete on a major party’s presidential ticket.

Harris (55), whose father is an African-American from Jamaica and mother from India, is currently the US Senator from California and often has been described as a trailblazer by former president Barack Obama.

Biden (77) made the announcement in a text message to his supporters on Tuesday afternoon, ending days of suspense about a week ahead of his virtual Democratic National Convention that would formally nominate him as the party’s candidate for the November 3 presidential elections.

“Joe Biden here. I’ve chosen Kamala Harris as my running mate. Together, with you, we’re going to beat Trump. Add your name to welcome her to the team,” Biden said in the text message.

Biden said Harris will be the best partner for him to finally get the country back on track.

“Joe Biden is running to restore the soul of the nation and unite the country to move us forward. Joe knows more about the importance of the vice-presidency than just about anyone, and he is confident that Kamala Harris will be the best partner for him to finally get the country back on track,” the Biden campaign said.

Earlier, the Biden campaign had sent a specially chartered plane to bring Harris and her family from California.

If elected, she would be the first-ever woman to be the vice president of the US and the first-ever Indian-American and African-American vice president of the country.

Both Biden and Harris are expected to make a joint appearance later in the night.

Explaining the reasons for selecting Harris as Biden’s running mate, the Biden campaign alleged that since Donald Trump became president, he has made everything worse.

“He has pursued economic policies that reward wealth overwork and benefited corporations and his buddies over working families. He has walked away from American leadership on the national stage. He has used division and stoked hatred for political purposes to pit Americans against one another,” it alleged.

A first-term Democratic Senator from California, Harris had launched her presidential campaign in January 2019.

After the initial few months, her campaign could not take off and by the end of the year, she withdrew from the race.

Early this year, she endorsed Biden for the presidency, and during the primaries and pre-primary season, she did not have a good relationship with Biden.

The two often clashed including at the one CNN debate last year.

The two leaders appear to have mended their ways in the last few months.

Biden started appreciating her skills. Harris raised millions of dollars for the Biden campaign.

The daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, Harris has known many firsts. She has been a county district attorney and the district attorney for San Francisco the first woman and first African-American and Indian-origin person to be elected to the position.

She was also the first female African-American and Indian-origin person to become California’s attorney general. Harris became the first Indian-origin and second African-American woman to join the Senate, winning the California seat vacated by Senator Barbara Boxer, who retired after 24 years.

Harris held the first event of her 2020 presidential campaign in Washington on the landmark campus of Howard University, from which she earned an undergraduate degree in 1986. Criminal justice and legal rights were central to her campaign themes.

“Justice is on the ballot when we talk about health care justice, reproductive freedoms justice, economic justice, criminal justice, you know, justice in terms of equal pay for women,” Harris said on PBS Newshour in October.

Harris has security-focused committee assignments, including the Judiciary Committee, the Intelligence Committee, and the Homeland Security and the Governmental Affairs Committee.

She also has a seat on the Budget Committee. As a member of the Intelligence Committee, she has taken part in the multi-year investigation of Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.

Political pundits say that she would perform much better in the vice-presidential debate against Vice-President Mike Pence.

She has in the past expressed support for the Clean Power Plan, a federal regulation aimed at reducing carbon pollution from power plants and creating more clean energy jobs.

While she supports broader immigration overhaul legislation, she also contends that the deferred action for immigration enforcement against some immigrants could be substantially expanded even without congressional action.

Harris batted for H-4 work visas, which mainly impacted Indian spouses.

During her presidential bid, she advocated for a proposal to direct the Department of Homeland Security to provide retroactive work authorization for immigrants who came to the US as children, often referred to as Dreamers.

Harris was born in Oakland and grew up in Berkeley. After her parents divorced, she spent her high school years living in French-speaking Canada—her mother was teaching at McGill University in Montreal.

In 2010, Harris became the first black woman to be elected as California’s Attorney General, overseeing the country’s second-largest Justice Department, only behind the US Department of Justice.

In this capacity, she managed a $735 million budget and oversaw more than 4,800 attorneys and other employees.

As California Attorney General, Kamala fought for families and won a $20 billion settlement for California homeowners against big banks that were unfairly foreclosing on homes.

“Kamala worked to protect Obamacare, helped win marriage equality for all, defended California’s landmark climate change law, and won a $1.1 billion settlement against a for-profit education company that scammed students and veterans. Kamala also fought for California communities and prosecuted transnational gangs who drove human trafficking, gun smuggling, and drug rings,” a statement said.

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