Kamala Harris made history on January 20th when she was sworn in as Joe Biden’s vice president, becoming the first woman, the first Black American and the first Asian American to hold the second highest office in the United States.
Some 100 days into her term she has provided the key extra vote in the Senate to pass the Administration’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, and was named to lead U.S. efforts with Mexico and Central America’s Northern Triangle countries to try to stem the flow of migration to the United States.
A U.S. senator from California the past four years, Harris has shattered many a glass ceiling. She served as San Francisco’s first female district attorney and was California’s first woman of color to be elected attorney general.
Her background in criminal justice could help the new Biden administration tackle the issues of racial equality and policing after the country was swept by protests last year, and back to back mass shootings.
Harris is the daughter of immigrants, with her mother coming to the United States from India and her father from Jamaica.
She had her sights set on becoming the first woman U.S. president when she competed against Biden and others for their party’s 2020 nomination. Harris dropped out of the race after a campaign hurt by her wavering views on healthcare and indecision about embracing her past as a prosecutor.
Accusations from liberals that Harris did not do enough to investigate police shootings and wrongful conviction cases when she was California’s attorney general helped doom her own presidential run but surfaced little during her time as Biden’s running mate.
Harris defended her record, saying she had worked her whole career “to reform the criminal justice system with the understanding that it is deeply flawed and in need of repair.”
Prior to her selection, several Biden aides said Harris was able to put to rest concerns among some in the former vice president’s camp that she would be too personally ambitious to make a trustworthy partner.
More than 90 percent of Americans think the United States could have its first woman president within a decade, a recent Reuters poll showed.
(Production: Deborah Lutterbeck)