Harris would be the first woman and first Black vice president.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has picked Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate. Biden announced the decision via text to his campaign supporters.
“Big news: I’ve chosen Kamala Harris as my running mate. Together, with you, we’re going to beat Trump,” the text said.
Harris has represented California in the U.S. Senate since 2017, and before that she was the state’s Attorney General and San Francisco’s District Attorney.
Harris was also a candidate to be the Democratic presidential nominee, and got in a notable exchange with Biden in a June 2019 debate over desegregating schools. Harris dropped out of the presidential nominee race before the Iowa Caucus, and endorsed Biden in March.
“I believe in Joe,” Harris said in her endorsement. “I really believe in him and I’ve known him for a long time.”
Harris supports policies like Medicare for All, fair prescription drug prices, and has a special interest in reforming America’s criminal justice system, given her experience as attorney general.
“At its best, the system serves to hold serious wrongdoers accountable and achieve justice for crime survivors, while helping to build safer and healthier communities,” Harris wrote on her campaign website.
“At its worst, decades of failed policies have created an unjust, unequal, and vastly expansive system that disproportionately harms communities of color and criminalizes individuals just because they are poor.”
Harris also has outlined plans for how best to address climate change, gun violence and close the opportunity gap between students.
If elected, Harris would be the first woman, first Black, and first Indian vice president. She is of Jamaican and Indian descent, and has said that her unique background is helpful to fight for marginalized groups.
Harris’s critics on the left say she is not as progressive as criminal justice reform advocates would like, pointing to her record on the death penalty and inmates who were proved innocent of their charges. But in a 2016 interview with the New York Times, Harris said she was a progressive working within a system she felt needed to change.
Recent news reports had put Harris in doubt for the selection. Biden supporter and former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell had suggested in a recent interview that she might not be a safe choice. “Kamala can rub some people the wrong way. Karen Bass is not likely to do that,” Rendell said. “The number one rule for picking the VP? Do no harm.”