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Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris official photo (cropped2).jpg
Official portrait, 2017
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

October 20, 1964 (1964-10-20) (age 56)
Oakland, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Douglas Emhoff (m. 2014)
Parents Donald J. Harris
Shyamala Gopalan
Relatives Maya Harris (sister)
Meena Harris (niece)
P. V. Gopalan (grandfather)
Education Howard University (BA)
University of California, Hastings (JD)

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 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 will be the second vice president of significant non-European ancestry, following Charles Curtis, who served from 1929 to 1933 alongside President Herbert Hoover. Harris is also be 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 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' parents attended graduate school. Harris grew up going to both a black Baptist Church and a Hindu temple. She has one younger sister, Maya. They both sang in a Baptist choir.

Harris' parents divorced when she was 7, and her mother was granted custody of the children by court-ordered settlement. After the divorce, her mother Shyamala moved with the children to Montreal, Québec, Canada, where she accepted a position doing research at Jewish General Hospital and teaching 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.

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 falling polling numbers and low campaign money raised, she ended her campaign 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 making her the Vice President-elect. She is the first woman, the first Asian-American, and the first African-American Vice 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.

Superheros 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.

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 African-American, and first Asian-American to become attorney general of California.
  • She is the first African-American woman to become a California Senator.
  • Kamala is Joe Biden's running mate in the 2020 US 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 African-American, first Asian-American, and first female Vice President.


Harris has written two non-fiction books and one children's book.

  • Superheroes Are Everywhere. Penguin Young Readers Group. 2019.
  • The Truths We Hold: An American Journey. Diversified Publishing. 2019.
  • Smart on Crime: A Career Prosecutor's Plan to Make Us Safer. Chronicle Books. 2009.

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