Sen. Kamala Harris Announces 2020 Presidential Run

The former San Francisco district attorney could take her barrier-breaking career to the White House, but may first have to answer for her prosecutorial career.

Sen. Kamala Harris, former San Francisco district attorney and California’s junior senator, announced she will join the growing field of 2020 presidential contenders in a campaign dubbed “for the people.”

The slogan is a nod to her background as a prosecutor, including her role as California’s Attorney General from 2010 until her election to the U.S. Senate in 2016. Harris announced her presidential bid on ABC’s Good Morning America, vowing to fight for the American people. 

“When I look at this moment in time, I know that the American people need someone who is going to fight for them, who is going to see them, who will hear them, who is going to care about them, who will be concerned about their experience, who is going to put them in front of self-interest,” Harris said during the live broadcast on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Born in Oakland to a Jamaican father and Tamil Indian mother, Harris has broken barriers throughout her political career. She became the first woman and Black San Francisco District Attorney in 2003 after her first run for office, repeating those historic firsts as California Attorney General seven years later. She currently serves as the first South Asian-American and the second Black woman in the United States Senate (after Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois, who left office in 1999). 

But her same prosecutorial experience, seen during Senate hearings that went viral and drew national attention, has been a major source of criticism among progressives.

As D.A., Harris once had female officers pose as sex workers who then disproportionately arrested Latinx men. As Attorney General, she also declined to launch state investigations into police shootings and the scandal of racist texts exchanged by San Francisco officers. (Toward the end of her tenure as California’s top cop, she opened investigations into two departments and launched a portal to track data on police interactions, including fatal shootings, with the public.)

Although it remains to be seen how she’ll appeal to her critics, the 54-year-old presidential hopeful is running on tax credits for low-income renters, Medicare for All, a $2.8 trillion middle-class tax plan, and changes to the cash-bail system.

The 2020 presidential election is shaping up as senators Elizabeth Warren and Kristen Gillibrand — who represent Massachusetts and New York, respectively — announced their candidacy in recent weeks.  Julian Castro, former Housing and Urban Development secretary under the Obama administration, and Hawaii congressional representative Tulsi Gabbard are also contenders.

Harris will hold a campaign kickoff rally at Oakland City Hall at noon on Sunday, Jan. 27.

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