Who Is Kamala Harris? 10 Things to Know About the Presidential Contender

January 21, 2019, 12:50 PM UTC

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are rounding up, including California Sen. Kamala Harris, who announced her bid for the White House on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Labeled the Democrats’ “best bet” for 2020, here is what you should know about the presidential contender, who could possibly be the first African-American female president.

1. Kamala Harris is the daughter of immigrants

As a daughter of immigrants, Kamala Harris was inspired to follow a life of activism and public service. She graduated from Howard University and received her law degree from the University of California, Hastings.

2. Harris started her career as a district attorney

Harris was San Francisco’s district attorney from 2004 until she was elected California’s attorney general in 2010. She was the first woman and person of color to hold both positions, and currently is the state’s first African-American senator and the country’s first Indian-American senator.

3. Harris was elected to the senate in 2016

Kamala Harris currently serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Select Committee On Intelligence and the Committee on Budget.

4. She was considered as a possible Supreme Court nominee

During the Obama Administration, Harris was noted as a possible Supreme Court nominee if another seat opened up.

5. Harris advocated for marriage equality

Harris refused to defend Proposition 8 in 2008, an amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. “I declined to defend Proposition 8 because it violates the Constitution. The Supreme Court has described marriage as a fundamental right 14 times since 1888,” she said in a statement. The time has come for this right to be afforded to every citizen.”

6. Harris supported the removal of Backpage

Harris advocated for the removal of Backpage.com, which was seized in April 2018 by the FBI, and found guilty of knowingly aiding human traffickers.

7. Harris said undocumented immigrants should not be considered criminals

In her first speech on the senate floor, Harris declared, “An undocumented immigrant is not a criminal,” The New York Post reported. She later avowed the belief that illegal immigration is “a civil violation, not a crime.”

8. She negotiated a $25 billion settlement deal with the nation’s five largest mortgage companies

In 2012, Harris negotiated a $25 billion settlement deal in her state with the nation’s five largest mortgage companies, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo, after the companies were accused of false foreclosure practices.

9. Harris proposed tax reform that would create a refundable tax credit for workers

Harris has proposed tax reform that would create a refundable tax credit for all workers, peaking at $3,000 for single adults and $6,000 for married couples—meaning that taxpayers could collect cash even if they don’t actually owe any taxes, reported The National Review.

10. Kamala Harris is an author

From a children’s picture book to a detailed memoir, Harris has published several books.