The nation’s hopes for the first female president were dashed in the wee hours of November 9th, 2016. Now those who voted for Hillary Clinton are placing bets for the next potential candidate to break the ultimate glass ceiling, and Senator-elect Kamala Harris is near the top of that list.
Harris, who has served as California’s Attorney General for the past six years, just trounced her opponent Loretta Sanchez in the race to take Barbara Boxer’s newly-vacated Senate seat. She will be heading to Washington D.C. in January, and if rumors hold true, she may serve in the Senate for exactly as long as President Obama.
Breaking the Ultimate Glass Ceiling
Harris earned her undergraduate degree from Howard University in Washington D.C., and then her Juris Doctor from University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Like many law graduates, it took her two tries to pass the Bar exam, but she has had an exceptional legal career since she was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1990. Immediately upon passing the Bar, Harris became the Deputy District Attorney for Alameda County, California. Eight years later, she joined the Career Criminal Unit in San Francisco where she was recruited to Chief of the Community and Neighborhood Division. From there, she won her bid to become San Francisco’s District Attorney. Named by the Los Angeles Daily Journal as one of the top 100 lawyers in California, Harris has received numerous awards for her service to the state, including the Woman of Power Award from the National Urban League and the Thurgood Marshall Award from the National Black Prosecutors Association.
A Controversial Career
Despite Harris’ many nods from the establishment, or perhaps because of it, she has been the center of both controversy and scandal. Well-known conservative columnist Steven Greenhut accused Harris in 2012 of abusing her position to write an unfavorable ballot title for a proposed pension reform initiative, a move he said was “straight out of the totalitarian playbook.” She was also charged by San Francisco’s Sunshine Ordinance Task Force of violating several of the city’s open-government laws. Some speculated that this was a purely political move because the charges came three days before her 2010 election to state Attorney General.
Our “Next Best Hope”
Harris, who has been touted as our “next best hope” by The Huffington Post and “the next Barack Obama” by the Washington Post, has received the open endorsement of President Obama. And her first speech as California’s new senator has shown her to be a fierce opponent to President-elect Trump. She has vowed to resist his policies, saying that they clash with the core Democratic values of equality and liberty. This is a particularly salient point for Harris, whose mother is Indian-American and father Jamaican-American. She is both the first Indian-American person and the second African-American woman to be elected as a United States Senator.
Harris also vows to fight if Trump decides to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and opposes his promise to deport illegal immigrants with criminal records, saying “criminal, that’s a very broad term,” and “a DUI is very different from rape.”