Meet Joe Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris made history Tuesday as the first black woman and the first person of Indian descent to compete on a major party’s presidential ticket.

But Harris, 55, has broken many barriers throughout her career, including being the first woman to serve as California’s top law enforcement official.

Born in Oakland, Calif., to a Jamaican father and Indian mother, the first-term senator is one of the Democratic party’s most well-known figures.

Here’s what else you should know about Kamala Harris:

How she got her start:

A graduate of Howard University who went to law school at the University of California, Hastings, Harris began her career in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office before joining the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and later the City Attorney of San Francisco’s office.

She served two terms as the district attorney for San Francisco, where she dated former mayor Willie Brown.

Harris became attorney general of California in 2011, the first woman to hold the office. She has described herself as a “progressive prosecutor” and said it’s possible to be tough on crime and also address inequalities in the justice system.

But her approach was heavily criticized by leftists during her failed presidential bid, with some even dubbing her a “cop.”

Progressive activists bashed her record on criminal justice, including for rarely prosecuting police officers who killed civilians when she was California AG.

Her Senate career:

In 2016, she was elected senator for California, succeeding Barbara Boxer. She serves on several high-profile committees, including the Intelligence Committee and the Judiciary Committee.

Harris made a name for herself with viral moments from interrogations of Trump administration officials or nominees, including of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, as well as former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy Rod Rosenstein.

Recently, she helped pen a sweeping police reform bill prohibiting the use of chokeholds and no-knock warrants in drug cases, and joined a bill with Sen. Bernie Sanders that would give most Americans $2,000 a month during the coronavirus pandemic.

She’s worked on bipartisan bills with Republican co-sponsors, including a bail reform bill with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and a workplace harassment bill with Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski.

Harris announced her White House bid last year before pulling the plug in December when her campaign ran out of cash.

Her family:

Harris’ parents, Shyamala Gopalan and Donald Harris, both immigrant academics who met at U.C. Berkeley, divorced when she was seven and she was mostly raised by her mother.

She has credited her mom, a breast cancer researcher who died of colon cancer in 2009, as one of the most influential figures in her life.

Her dad is a retired Stanford economics professor from Jamaica. He once said that his grandmother was a descendant of Hamilton Brown, an Irishman who owned a slave plantation on the island.

In 2014, Harris married Los Angeles lawyer Douglas Emhoff, with her sister Maya Harris, also an attorney, officiating.

She is stepmom to Emhoff’s two children from his previous marriage, Cole and Ella — who call her “Momala.”

“They are my endless source of love and pure joy,” Harris wrote in a May 2019 essay for “Elle.” “I can say one thing with certainty, my heart wouldn’t be whole, nor my life full, without them.”

Her previous clashes with Biden:

Harris and her running mate tangled during the Democratic primary.

In a now-infamous debate-stage exchange, Harris attacked Biden for working with segregationists to oppose busing in the 1970s.

The showdown was seen as the peak of Harris’ campaign but was considered by some in Biden’s camp as a low blow and the senator was forced to repeatedly defend herself over the confrontation.

A few months earlier, Harris also said she believed the women who have stepped forward to say Biden made them uncomfortable with unwanted touching.

“I believe them, and I respect them being able to tell their story and having the courage to do it,” she had said.

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