The lawyer who could be the first female US President

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By Aishah Hussain on

Joe Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris is the California senator and served as the state’s attorney general

Kamala Harris — via Wikimedia Commons

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden named Kamala Harris as his running mate yesterday meaning we could see a lawyer become the first female President of the United States.

At 77, many believe Biden will see out only one term should he be elected; leaving his number two, Harris, 55, to take the top job. Biden signalled to aides late last year he would serve only a single term.

Harris, who represents California in the US Senate and previously served as the state’s attorney general, last night became the first Black and Indian American woman in the role of Vice-President. She has long been considered a front-runner for the VP pick.

She tweeted: “I’m honored to join him [Biden] as our party’s nominee for Vice-President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.”

Only two other women have been nominated as Vice-Presidential candidates for a major party — Sarah Palin by the Republican party in 2008 and Geraldine Ferraro by the Democrats in 1984. Neither ended up the winning ticket. No woman has won the US presidency either.

Taking to Twitter, Biden announced the “great honour” to pick Harris as his presidential partner, describing her as a “fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants”.

Former US President Barack Obama also acknowledged Harris’ appointment for a presidential ticket. “She is more than prepared for the job,’ he wrote on Twitter. “She’s spent her career defending our constitution and fighting for folks who need a fair shake. This is a good day for our country.”

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Harris was born in Oakland, California, to two immigrant parents. She is biracial of Indian-Jamaican heritage: her mother was born in India, and her father in Jamaica. She attended college in the US, spending four years at Howard University before embarking on a law degree at the University of California, Hastings College of Law.

She worked her way up in local district attorneys’ offices before being elected the district attorney for San Francisco in 2003. Seven years later the Democrat was elected to serve as California’s attorney general, the top lawyer and law enforcement official in America’s most populous state.

In a tweet yesterday Biden reflected saying Harris worked closely with his late son Beau back when they were both attorney generals, taking on “the big banks, lift[ing] up working people, and protect[ing] women and kids from abuse”.

In 2016, Harris was elected as California’s senator. She launched her candidacy for president last year which eventually fizzled out.

Harris lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband of six years and two stepchildren. It appears we have a double legal connection as Harris’s husband, Douglas Emhoff, 55, is a partner in the Los Angeles and Washington offices of global law firm DLA Piper, according to his firm profile.

Emhoff is a litigator with a specialty in media, sport and entertainment, and intellectual property law, and has publicly supported Kamala in her political campaign.

The 2020 US presidential election is scheduled for Tuesday 3 November.

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