By Frederick H. Lowe
U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris announced today on “Good Morning America” she is seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination for president, adding to the growing list of women who want to call the White House home.
“I’m running for president of the United States, and I’m very excited about it,” said Harris, who is 54. Harris, who is a graduate of Howard University and Hastings School of Law, was elected to the U.S. Senate from California in 2016. Before moving to Washington, she was elected California Attorney General and had previously served as San Francisco District Attorney. She is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
She is the second black woman to seek the Democratic nomination for president. In 1972, New York Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm sought the nomination, declaring that she was “unbought and unbossed.”
Harris gives the impression that she is a progressive, but some would disagree with that view of herself. Lara Bazelon, an associate law professor at the University of San Francisco, wrote in a New York Times Op-ed that progressives urged Harris to adopt criminal justice reforms as district attorney and state’s attorney but she either opposed them or stayed silent. For example, Harris opposed statewide legislation requiring the AG’s office to investigate shootings by police officers, Brazelon wrote.
Brazelon also wrote that Harris “fought tooth and nail to uphold wrongful convictions that had been secured through official misconduct that included evidence tampering, false testimony and the suppression of crucial information by prosecutors.”
A Harris spokesperson dismissed the allegations.
“Kamala Harris has spent her career fighting for reforms in the criminal justice system and pushing the envelope to keep everyone safer by bringing fairness and accountability,” said Lily Adams, Harris’ spokeswoman, in a statement.
In the U.S. Senate, she is a member of Judiciary Committee, the Budget Committee and the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs and the Select Committee on Intelligence.
She was born October 20, 1964 in Oakland, California to Shyamala Gopalan Harris, a breast cancer research scientist, and Donald Harris, an economics professor at Stanford University. Her mother is from India and her father is from Jamaica.
Harris will formally kickoff her campaign for president Sunday in Oakland.
She joins Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii who already have announced they are seeking the presidential nomination in 2020.
Two problems Harris may face is that she is dramatically attractive.
In 2013, President Barack Obama called Harris “the best-looking attorney general.” He was criticized for that remark and had to apologize.
She also had a long affair with Willie Brown, the former mayor of San Francisco, when he was married.