22 January, 2019
Kamala Harris is holding her first press conference at 1:30 pm today, at her alma mater, Howard University in Washington, D.C., on the same day she announced that she is joining the Democratic primary race for president in 2020. "That's why I'm running for president of the United States", Harris says.
"My parents were very active in the civil-rights movement, and that's the language that I grew up hearing", she said.
As a California district attorney and later as the state's attorney general, Harris frequently opposed or ignored criminal justice reform measures aimed at levelling a playing field critics say is unfairly tilted against black defendants, the former director of the Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent wrote last week in the New York Times.
Afterwards spokesman Jay Carney said: "They are old friends and good friends and he did not want in any way to diminish the attorney general's professional accomplishments and her capabilities". Kamala Harris traveled to New Hampshire as she was preparing to launch her presidential campaign.
According to a Harris aide, her priorities in the campaign will be addressing the cost of living, pushing for a more just society, expanding access to better quality of life and restoring dignity and responsibility to public office.
A video announcing a formal campaign launch on January 27 in Oakland, California presents Harris as a champion of "decency, equality, freedom and democracy". First, she has come out quite early, looking to get her name out amongst what will likely be a crowded and qualified Democratic primary that's already populated by big names like Elizabeth Warren, Richard Ojeda, Kirsten Gillibrand, maybe Beto O'Rourke and maybe Cory Booker.
Although she identifies herself primarily as African-American, as indeed does the U.S. media, Harris has spoken in the past about her influential Indian past that involved summer holidays in Chennai's Besant Nagar, where she visited her maternal grandfather, P V Gopalan, a freedom fighter and an Indian diplomat.
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In the first 30 minutes after her announcement, Harris received individual online contributions from all 50 states, spokesman Ian Sams said on Twitter.
Harris is the first African American senator from California and joins a field vying to become the first woman elected to the White House. In the weeks leading up to her announcement, Harris made multiple high-profile media appearances promoting a recently-released memoir.
"I'm not able to be rushed this fast", he said. She also created the Mortgage Fraud Strike Force.
Harris doesn't shy away from the term "identity politics", which she's described as a cudgel used to marginalize issues like civil rights and immigrant rights. One of just three black lawmakers now serving in the Senate, Harris plans on embracing that background in what will likely be a large and diverse Democratic primary field.
But she didn't directly answer a question from a reporter on whether inmates from around the country should have access to gender reassignment surgery.