Donald Trump’s Election Day victory opened the door to a Black woman being elected to the Senate, making her the only African-American woman to hold the title. California’s new Democratic senator-elect, Kamala Harris, may also be the next best hope for shattering that glass ceiling as supporters are already talking about a future presidential run.
Harris has drawn many comparisons to President Barack Obama, who famously ran for president during his first term in the Senate. Her background and her polished yet personable approach to politics embody what many think the Democratic Party should aim to look like going forward. And even before her Senate win, her name was floated for roles including California governor, Supreme Court justice and vice president.
Here are some things you should know about the woman who could very well challenge Trump in 2020.
She’s spent six years as California’s attorney general. Harris, a San Francisco Bay Area native, spent years as a prosecutor and was elected twice as San Francisco’s district attorney before she won the California attorney general race in 2010. That election placed her at the top of the most populous state’s enormous law enforcement system and gave her a platform to fight for the issues she cared about.
Among her more high-profile efforts: waging a statewide campaign to reduce school truancy, eliminating the state’s backlog of untested rape kits, successfully suing the for-profit Corinthian Colleges to the tune of $1.1 billion and negotiating a mortgage relief settlement on behalf of California homeowners (which some critics said made a nice headline but didn’t accomplish much).
She’s also emerged as one of the leading attorneys general standing in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. During a pen-and-pad session with reporters at the Democratic National Convention in July, she spoke at length about police killings of Black men and women, arguing that states should take steps like keeping track of the data on officer-involved shootings and increasing training to reduce police bias.
She’s campaigned on her criminal justice reform record.