Inside Kamala Harris’ impressive career before politics

Joe Biden announced in texts to supporters and on Twitter that at long last he has chosen California Senator Kamala Harris as his vice presidential pick. “I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” he tweeted.

Harris is the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, and is the first Black woman and person of Indian descent to be put on the ticket for a major party (via The New York Times). Harris had previously served as the Attorney General of California before being elected as the Senator for California, making her both the second Black woman and first South Asian woman to do so. Harris describes herself as a “progressive prosecutor” who spent years serving as California’s first female Attorney General (via BBC). Here’s how Harris got her career started before being in the public eye.

Kamala Harris started her career defending children

After earning her law degree from the University of California, Kamala Harris didn’t go for corporate law. Instead, she started her career at Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, specializing in prosecuting child sexual assault cases (via JoeBiden.com), as well as homicide, rape, and other violent felonies. She spent eight years with Alameda County before joining the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office as head of the Career Criminal Unit.

Later, while she was serving as District Attorney of San Francisco, Harris turned her attention to the issue of truancy. “A child in elementary school who is missing 50 or 60 days out of a 180-day school year is never going to be completely functional or productive,” Harris told her Howard Magazine. “I did something that was considered controversial, but it put an infrared light on the issue. I decided to prosecute parents for truancy.” Though no parents were actually jailed, her tough measures attracted criticism for creating a school-to-prison pipeline and not providing parents and students the help they needed (via Vox). In 2019, she told Pod Save America that she regretted her truancy measures (via Politico).

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