An in-depth profile on Kamala Harris: A candidate for the 2020 presidential election

Graphic by Maria Nevada/The Gateway

Megan Schneider

American attorney Kamala Devi Harris has served as junior United States Senator from California since 2017. In January of this year, she officially launched her 2020 presidential campaign in front of an American flag at Oakland’s City Hall.  

Harris said that our American democracy is under attack like we’ve never seen before. She knows that America is better and cited a loss of American values in reference to the current Trump administration.  

“The United States of America is not about us versus them … I’m running to be a President of the people, by the people, for all the people,” Harris said in her formal campaign announcement, according to CNN 

Harris said although she isn’t perfect, she will strive to always be honest during her leadership 

“If I have the honor of being your president, I will tell you this: I am not perfect. Lord knows, I am not perfect,” Harris said. “But I will always speak with decency and moral clarity and treat all people with dignity and respect. I will lead with integrity. And I will speak the truth.” 

As a woman of color seeking the Democratic nomination, Harris would make history if she wins the 2020 presidential election. Her campaign logo “Kamala Harris for the People” shows her willingness to tackle challenges that divide our nation. 

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf endorsed Harris because of her strong character. Schaaf recognized Harris as “the right candidate for this moment in American history” in an interview with CNN.  

Harris introduced herself as a “progressive prosecutor,” or one that does more than fix injustices within the system. She is someone who tried to ignite a “more fair criminal justice system” during her time in the courtroom.  

However, her decision to not seek the death penalty for a gang member who killed police officer Isaac Espinoza in 2004 may come back to haunt her, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. 

Espinoza’s widow, Renata, said Harris showed no compassion after his funeral, but rather made a political move in a time of tragedy. Harris never reached out to her personally, but her office sent her a statement. She lamented about her husband and voiced her opinion on Harris’ presidential run in an in-depth interview with CNN.  

The officer’s widow worries that Harris may not be “for the people” based on how she acted after her husband’s death.  

“Is it the real you? Or is it not? We never saw that,” Renata Espinoza said. It upsets me because I see her doing that now, and I wish she would have done that back then.”  

Despite her attitude on the death penalty and other serious issues, Harris recently used her platform for good when she wrote a powerful testimonial about Christine Blasey Ford, a professor who accused Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Brett Kavanaugh, of sexual assault last year.  

Her tribute was part of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people issue, according to The Huffington Post. She commended Ford for her obligation to civic duty.  

“At her core, she is a teacher. And through her courage, she forced the country to reckon with an issue that has too often been ignored and kept in the dark,” Harris wrote in her tribute to Ford.  

Throughout her career, Harris has been an advocate for the vulnerable and a fighter for all people, according to the “About Kamala” section on her official campaign website. Her voice has held the Trump administration accountable in today’s world. She has served on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Select Committee On Intelligence and the Committee On Budget.  

She is a graduate of Howard University and earned her law degree from the Hastings College of Law at the University of California. Harris is a wife and stepmother of two children, Ella and Cole Emhoff. Among her long list of accomplishments, she is also the author of a book called Smart on Crime: A Career Prosecutor’s Plan to Make Us Safer. 

A few words of wisdom from presidential hopeful Harris stated, “Any fight – any good fight – is born out of optimism.”