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Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris Vice Presidential Portrait.jpg
Official portrait, 2021
49th Vice President of the United States
Assumed office
January 20, 2021
President Joe Biden
Preceded by Mike Pence
United States Senator
from California
In office
January 3, 2017 – January 18, 2021
Preceded by Barbara Boxer
Succeeded by Alex Padilla
32nd Attorney General of California
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2017
Governor Jerry Brown
Preceded by Jerry Brown
Succeeded by Xavier Becerra
27th District Attorney of San Francisco
In office
January 8, 2004 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Terence Hallinan
Succeeded by George Gascón
Personal details
Kamala Devi Harris

(1964-10-20) October 20, 1964 (age 59)
Oakland, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
(m. 2014)
Relatives Family of Kamala Harris
Residence Number One Observatory Circle
  • Politician
  • lawyer
  • author
Signature Cursive signature in ink

Kamala Devi Harris (born October 20, 1964) is an American politician and lawyer. She is the 49th and current Vice President of the United States. She served as a United States senator from California from 2017 until 2021. Before she took the position of senator, Harris was the State Attorney General from 2011 to 2017.

Born in Oakland, California, Harris is a graduate of Howard University and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. In the 1990s, Harris worked in the San Francisco District Attorney's Office and the City Attorney of San Francisco's office. In 2004, Harris was elected District Attorney of San Francisco.

Harris was elected California's Attorney General in 2010 and reelected in 2014. On November 8, 2016, she defeated Loretta Sanchez in the 2016 Senate election to succeed outgoing Senator Barbara Boxer, becoming California's third female U.S. Senator and the first of either Indian or Jamaican descent.

On January 21, 2019, Harris announced her candidacy for President of the United States in the 2020 election. She ended her campaign on December 3, 2019.

On August 11, 2020, Joe Biden picked Harris as his running mate.

On November 7, 2020, the race was called in favor of the Biden-Harris ticket. She is the second vice president of non-European ancestry, following Charles Curtis, who served from 1929 to 1933 with President Herbert Hoover. Harris is also the first African American, the first Asian American, and the first female vice president in U.S. history.

Early Life and education

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Harris was born on October 20, 1964, in Oakland, California, to a Tamil mother and Jamaican father. Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, emigrated from Madras in 1960. Her father, Donald Harris, was a Stanford University economics professor who emigrated from Jamaica in 1961 for graduate study in economics at University of California, Berkeley.

Her name, Kamala, comes from the Sanskrit word for lotus. Her family lived in Berkeley, California, where both of Harris's parents attended graduate school. Harris grew up going to both a black Baptist Church and a Hindu temple. She has one younger sister, Maya.

Harris's parents divorced when she was 7, and her mother was granted custody of the children. After the divorce, her mother moved with the children to Montreal, Québec, Canada. There she researched at Jewish General Hospital and taught at McGill University.

After graduating from Montreal's Westmount High School in Quebec, Kamala attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she majored in political science and economics. Harris returned to California, earning her Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, in 1989.


In 1989, Harris became a lawyer after studying at Hastings College of Law at the University of California. She worked in the office of the District Attorney of Alameda, California in 1990. In 1998, Harris left to work for the District Attorney’s office in San Francisco. In 2003, Harris became the District Attorney of San Francisco.

Kamala Harris Official Attorney General Photo
Kamala Harris Official Attorney General Photo

She worked as the Attorney General of California until 2017 when she became a senator for California.

2015 Senate run

At the start of 2016, Harris said that she would attempt to become senator after Barbara Boxer said that she would not work as a senator for the next term. Harris won the position in 2016 and became a senator on January 3, 2017.

As a senator, she advocated for healthcare reform, a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, the DREAM Act, a ban on assault weapons, and progressive tax reform.

Harris also spoke against death penalty in favour of life sentence, wanted to combat truancy among elementary schoolchildren and supported the Back on Track initiative, that helps people convicted of nonviolent offences to reintegrate.

2020 presidential campaign

On January 21, 2019, Harris officially announced her campaign for President of the United States in the 2020 United States presidential election. After months of unsuccessful campaigning, she dropped out of the running on December 3, 2019.

On August 11, 2020, Biden picked Harris as his running mate. On November 7, the Biden-Harris ticket beat the Trump-Pence ticket. She is the first woman, the first Asian-American, and the first African-American Vice President.

Vice president

Kamala Harris oath of office
Harris being sworn in as vice president on January 20, 2021

Harris became Vice President of the United States on January 20, 2021. She is the United States' first female vice president, the highest-ranking female elected official in U.S. history, and the first African-American and first Asian-American vice president. She is also the second person of color to hold the post. The first was Charles Curtis, who was a Native American and member of the Kaw Nation.

Harris cast her first of two tie-breaking votes on February 5, 2021. In February and March, Harris's tie-breaking votes in her role as President of the Senate were needed to pass the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 stimulus package to distribute money to American citizens.

In April 2021, Harris said that she was the last person in the room before President Biden decided to remove all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, leaving American citizens and weapons there, and commented that the president was brave for making this "difficult decision."

Biden put Harris in charge of immigration. Harris visited Guatemala and Mexico to see why there was an increase in immigration, mainly from Central America to the United States. During her visit, she said, "I want to be clear to folks in the region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border: Do not come. Do not come."

On November 19, 2021, Harris served as acting president from 10:10 am to 11:35 am while President Biden underwent a "routine surgery." Harris became the third vice president and the first female vice president to serve as acting president.

Personal life

Kamala Harris signing the guest book at Yad Vashem with her husband, Doug24830055418 5323ea6526 h (cropped2)
Kamala Harris in 2017 signing the guestbook at Yad Vashem as her husband looks on

Harris is married to California attorney Douglas Emhoff, who was at one time partner-in-charge at Venable LLP's Los Angeles office. They married on August 22, 2014, in Santa Barbara, California.

Kamala and Douglas do not have children together, but Harris is stepmother, "Momala," to Douglas's two children from his previous marriage.

Harris's sister is Maya Harris, MSNBC political analyst, and her brother-in-law is Tony West, General Counsel of Uber and a former U.S. Justice Department senior official.

Superheroes Are Everywhere

Superheroes Are Everywhere book cover
Children's book written by Kamala Harris, "Superheroes Are Everywhere"

Superheroes Are Everywhere is a children's book written by Kamala Harris and illustrated by Mechal Renee Roe. It was published on January 8, 2019.

The book teaches that superheroes can be found everywhere in real life, from family members, to friends, to teachers at school and college, based upon the author's life.

Kamala Harris quotes

  • “I’m speaking.”
  • “When [my mother] came here from India at 19, she maybe didn’t quite imagine this moment. But she believed so deeply, and in America, where a moment like this is possible."
  • “To everyone keeping up the fight, you are doing something."
  • “Imperfect though we may be, I believe we are a great country.”
  • "I’ve had a lot of titles over my career, and certainly ‘vice president’ will be great. But ‘Momala’ will always be the one that means the most.”

Interesting facts about Kamala Harris

  • She is the daughter of Jamaican (father) and Indian/Tamil (mother) immigrants.
  • Kamala means "lotus" flower in Sanskrit.
  • Kamala visited India as a child.
  • She was the first woman, first Jamaican-American, and first Asian-American to become attorney general of California.
  • She is the first Jamaican-American woman to become a California Senator.
  • Kamala was Joe Biden's running mate in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
  • She is the first woman of color to become a running mate in the U.S. presidential elections, and the third woman after Sarah Palin and Geraldine Ferraro.
  • Her stepchildren call her "Momala" (mother + Kamala).
  • She published two non-fiction books and one children's book.
  • She is the first Jamaican-American, first Asian-American, and first female Vice President.

Related pages

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Kamala Harris para niños

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