By Astead W. Herndon


Ms. Harris, Joe Biden’s running mate and the first woman of color on a major party ticket, has said she can “prosecute the case” against President Trump.

Joe Biden selected Kamala Harris as his running mate on Aug. 11. Here’s what to know about her.

Who is Kamala Harris?
- 55 years old
- Born in Oakland, Calif.; lives in San Francisco and Washington
- Elected to the Senate in 2016
- Former attorney general of California; former San Francisco district attorney

Harris’s signature issues
In her presidential campaign last year, Kamala Harris pitched herself as a history-making candidate who could appeal to both progressives and moderates. Rather than trying to upend the economy, her policies sought incremental, targeted results, particularly focusing on historically marginalized groups like women, people of color and low-income Americans.

Her sharp debate skills and affable personality made her a top-tier contender in the early stages of the primary race. But her oscillations between policy positions resulted in damaging news cycles, and she dropped out of the race as her campaign ran out of money.

In naming Ms. Harris as his running mate, Joseph R. Biden Jr. made a groundbreaking decision, picking a woman of color to be vice president. But he was also elevating a senator who shares his center-left politics at a time of progressive change in the party.

Three questions about Kamala Harris
1. What’s Ms. Harris’s position on health care?
She’s held several of them. Originally, she was a sponsor of the Medicare for All bill offered by Senator Bernie Sanders, which would create a single-payer system and eliminate private health insurance.

But she seemed to change her position frequently on elements of Medicare for All until she released her own proposal in July 2019. Unlike the Sanders bill, her plan would maintain a limited role for private insurers and seek to pay for costs without raising taxes on the middle class.

2. Is Ms. Harris a progressive?
She has described herself as a “progressive prosecutor” during her time as a district attorney and attorney general in California. While she pushed leftward on issues like gay marriage and the death penalty, she sometimes enraged liberals by refusing to go further.

In the presidential primary, Ms. Harris styled herself as a pragmatic problem solver. In many ways, she's indicative of how Democrats have broadly moved to the left, even if she remains more moderate than the most vocal progressive firebrands.

3. How does Ms. Harris talk about her identity?
Ms. Harris is of Jamaican and Indian descent, and she is the first woman of color on a major party’s presidential ticket. She attended a historically black college (Howard University), is a member of a prominent black sorority (Alpha Kappa Alpha) and visited India often while growing up. She often argues that her identity makes her uniquely suited to fight for people who have been traditionally ignored.

“I believe our country wants and needs some leadership that provides a vision of the country in which everyone could see themselves.” - Kamala Harris

Originally Published: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/elections/kamala-harris.html