politics

Vice President Kamala Harris – making history, step-kids and 'true inspiration'


When Kamala Harris took to the stage to give her Vice President victory speech, she thanked her activist mother who she said was a “true inspiration”.

She said that Shyamala Gopalan, who moved to the US from India when she was 19, “believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible”.

Kamala makes history by becoming the first woman and first woman of colour to become Vice President, as she and Joe Biden take over from Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

When they won the election last year, a video of Kamala calling Joe to celebrate went viral – and she can be heard saying: “We did it Joe”.

At 56, Kamala has already had an impressive career as the attorney general of California and a district attorney in San Francisco. She was elected to the Senate in 2016.



Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris is America’s new Vice President

She was born in Oakland, California, in 1964 to a Jamaican-born father and Indian-born mother.

Her mother was an activist and researcher, Kamala said she was “always in our hearts” in her victory speech.

She said: “When she came here from India at the age of 19, maybe she didn’t quite imagine this moment.

“But she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible.”



Kamala Harris and Joe Biden celebrating their election victory in November
Kamala Harris and Joe Biden celebrating their election victory in November

Kamala studied at Howard University before earning a place at the University of California where she studied law.

Her first political job was in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, and she stood in her first election in 2003, when she became San Francisco’s district attorney.

Seven years later she was elected California’s attorney general in 2010 – the first woman and black person to hold the job.

In 2016 she was elected to the Senate and she became known for questioning Trump’s administration officials.



Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris phones Joe to say “we did it Joe”

She quickly became one of the party’s most prominent figures, and at the start of 2019 she set her eyes on the White House.

With the slogan ‘Kamala Harris For the People’, a reference to her courtroom work, she launched her own bid to become president.

Her first rally attracted more than 20,000 people, but she quickly hit fundraising problems.

Despite early promise, her campaign faded and she pulled out of the race two months before the first primary votes were cast.



Kamala with her great nieces

She decided to back Biden, who described her as “smart, tough and experienced”.

Announcing her as his running mate, he said: “She’s a proven fighter for the backbone of this country.

“Kamala knows how to govern. She knows how to make the hard calls. She’s ready to do this job on day one.”

And Kamala isn’t the only person who will make history when she takes on the job, and her husband Doug Emhoff will become America’s first ever Second Gentleman.



Kamala Harris and Douglas Emhoff
Kamala Harris and Douglas Emhoff

The 56-year-old will also be the first Jewish person in the country’s history to be married to a President or Vice President.

The couple met on a blind date in 2013, set up by PR consultant Chrisette Hudlin.

Doug messaged her while he was sitting courtside at an LA Lakers game, and she replied “Go Lakers” despite supporting Golden State Warriors.

But the message changed both of their lives, and they hit it off straight away and quickly fell in love.

Speaking about their first chat, Doug previously explained that he couldn’t stop thinking about her so messaged her early the next day.



Joe and Kamala campaigned together against Donald Trump

He said: “I had an early meeting and as I was driving to work, I couldn’t get you off my mind.

“I kept saying to myself ‘It’s 8:30 am, it’s way too early to call her. That would be ridiculous. Don’t be that guy. Don’t call her. Don’t do it.”

But his long and rambling message worked, and Harris still has it saved on her phone.

She called him back that afternoon and they chatted for an hour.

Their relationship moved fast, and a year later Doug got down on one knee when they were enjoying a night in together at home with a Thai takeaway.



Kamala Harris makes history with her new position

But it didn’t exactly go to plan, and Harris was distracted.

In her memoir, The Truths We Hold, she explains that she wasn’t really paying attention as she was searching for a pair of trousers.

She explains that when she heard him saying he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, she replied: “That’s nice honey, should we have chicken or shrimp on the pad thai?”

She then turned around and noticed he was on one knee.

She writes: “I looked at him there, on one knee, and burst into tears.



Kamala Harris
Kamala was elected California’s attorney general in 2010 – the first woman and black person to hold the job

“Mind you, these were not graceful Hollywood tears streaming down a glistening cheek.

“No, I’m talking about snorting and grunting with mascara smudging my face.”

The couple married in August 2014 at a small ceremony.

Kamala became stepmother to Doug’s children Ella and Cole, however they all agreed they didn’t like the term so they call her ‘Momala’.

Doug has been at Kamala’s side throughout the campaign, and has become close with Biden’s wife, Jill, who is set to become the First Lady.



She already has lots of plans for her time in the White House

He is a successful entertainment lawyer, and is believed to make more than $1million a year.

He joked about working from home with his wife during an interview with Marie Claire, saying: “Imagine working from home with Kamala Harris, during a pandemic and all the other issues going on.

“She just works hard, and she’s relentless. It’s just incredible how much she does.

“Our relationship and the way I roll, my whole life has just been to support the people I love unequivocally, and they support me. The whole thing has been based on parity and mutual respect.”

Harris is also extremely close to her sister, Maya,and thanked her during her victory speech.

She said: “To my husband Doug, our children Cole and Ella, my sister Maya, and our whole family — I love you all more than I can express.”





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