You may already know Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is the first Black woman and the first Asian American woman to be chosen as a major party’s vice-presidential candidate. But did you know she is also the first person from a state west of Texas to ever appear on a Democratic ticket?
Here are 10 things you may not know about the junior senator from California:
Kamala Harris Hometown:
Kamala Devi Harris was born in Oakland, California on October 20, 1964, the eldest of two children born to Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer researcher from India, and Donald Harris, an economist from Jamaica.
Her mother chose Kamala’s name as a nod both to her Indian roots:
Kamala means “lotus” and is another name for the Hindu goddess Lakshmi—and the empowerment of women.
She has one of the most progressive voting records in the Senate:
While Harris and Biden are sometimes thought to be ideologically similar, trackers have consistently rated her voting record as one of the most progressive in the U.S. Senate. ProgressivePunch rates her as the fourth-most-progressive member of the Senate, ahead of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
the charges once he was unable to prove a cover-up effort. The episode helped pave a path for Harris’ eventual victory.
Trump has made campaign donations to Harris sometimes back:
The president made two donations to Harris’ California attorney general re-election campaign. The first was in 2011, when Trump donated $5,000. In 2013, Trump sent the Harris campaign $1,000. Meanwhile, in 2014, his daughter Ivanka now a top White House aide donated $2,000 to the then-state attorney general.
Harris was close with Biden’s late son Beau:
As state attorneys general in California and Delaware, Harris and the younger Biden, who died of brain cancer in 2015, developed a close friendship and worked together on issues, particularly those pertaining to the big banks following the financial crisis of 2008.
“There were periods, when I was taking the heat,” Harris wrote in her 2019 memoir, “when Beau and I talked every day, sometimes multiple times a day.”
As a child, Harris went to both a Black Baptist church and a Hindu temple:
Embracing both her South Asian and Black identities, she said “My mother understood very well that she was raising two black daughters,” Harris later wrote in her autobiography, “and she was determined to make sure we would grow into confident, proud black women.”
She visited India as a child:
Kamala Harris was heavily influenced by her grandfather, a high-ranking government official who fought for Indian independence, and grandmother, an activist who traveled the countryside teaching impoverished women about birth control.
After high school, Harris attended Howard University:
Known as the prestigious historically Black college in Washington, D.C. She majored in political science and economics, and joined the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
In 1994, Harris began dating Willie Brown:
A powerhouse in California politics who was then the speaker of the state assembly and was 30 years older than Harris. From his perch in the assembly, Brown appointed Harris to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and the Medical Assistance Commission positions that together paid her around $80,000 a year on top of her prosecutor’s salary
Her friendship with Barack Obama:
During obama’s campaign to his run for Senate in 2004. She was the first notable California officeholder to endorse him during his 2008 presidential bid.