Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks on stage at the Chase Center before President-elect Joe Biden’s address to the nation November 07, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.
Win McNamee | Getty Images
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., has become the first woman to earn the title of vice president-elect after NBC News projected former Vice President Joe Biden to be the president-elect on Saturday.
Harris’ victory represents many firsts to come to the White House. As the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, she will be the first woman and first person to identify as Black and as South Asian-American in the role of vice president. An alumna of Howard University, she will be the first vice president to have graduated from a historically Black college and be a member of a Black sorority.
Harris ran her own presidential campaign this year before joining the Democratic ticket as Biden’s running mate. At 56, the role positions her to be a strong contender for the presidency in future elections should she choose to run again.
Harris made her mark in politics in California, where she served as San Francisco district attorney before going on to become attorney general of the state — the first African-American to serve in that role.
Harris’ background as a prosecutor has made her a target of criticism from progressives seeking criminal justice reform. But Harris has argued she’s sought reform from within her roles as a prosecutor.
As San Francisco DA, she promised to never seek the death penalty. She kept that promise even when prosecuting a person accused of killing a San Francisco Police Department officer, angering her political allies.
But she also took heat for other policies such as a campaign to combat truancy in San Francisco in an effort to reduce crime.
Harris took her prosecutorial chops to the U.S. Senate after being elected in 2016. Her skills helped her become a tough interrogator in confirmation hearings for people like Attorney General William Barr and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. She also serves on committees for Intelligence, Homeland Security and Budget.
Throughout the campaign, Harris has shared a quote from her mother, Shyamala, who she said would often tell her, “you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last.”
Following several news networks’ projection of Biden and Harris’ victory, the vice president-elect wrote on Twitter that the election is “about the soul of America and our willingness to fight for it. We have a lot of work ahead of us. Let’s get started.”