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  /  News   /  What you need to know about Kamala Harris

What you need to know about Kamala Harris

(NewsNation) — After President Joe Biden’s performance in the first presidential debate, some Democrats are calling to replace him as the party’s official candidate. One of the most popular suggestions for a replacement is Vice President Kamala Harris

For Harris to become the party’s nominee, Biden would have to step out of the race, something his campaign has no plan on doing. 

Harris is still supporting Biden, but some Democrats believe she could be a stronger candidate. 

Who is Kamala Harris?

Harris currently serves as the Vice President of the United States. She is the first woman, first Black person and first Asian American person to hold this position.

Harris graduated from Howard University before attending law school at the University of California’s Hastings College of Law.

She was admitted to the California State Bar in 1990 and then served as a deputy and assistant district attorney before being elected District Attorney of San Francisco.  

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Kamala Harris’s road to the White House

Harris was elected the District Attorney of San Francisco in 2004 and served until 2011.  As district attorney, Harris prioritized cracking down on student truancy and creating a reentry program for low-level drug offenders.

In 2011, Harris was elected the California Attorney General. In this role, she declined to defend Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage.

In 2017, Harris was elected to the U.S. Senate. In this position, she advocated for healthcare reform, gun control and a path to citizenship for immigrants. 

In 2020, Biden announced that Harris would be his running mate in the presidential election. 

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden‘s relationship

After the first presidential debate, many think Harris should replace Biden as the Democratic party’s nominee. Major reasons include that she is much younger than him and has worked closely with him.

Before Biden announced Harris as his vice president pick during the 2020 election, the two had clashed over Biden’s past policies. Harris had called out his past collaborations with segregationist senators and his opposition to mandated bussing to promote school desegregation in the 1970s.

However, Biden and Harris have bonded because of her closeness with his late son, Beau Biden. The president’s son served as the attorney general of Delaware during Harris’s tenure as California attorney general, and the pair worked closely together.

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When Beau Biden died in 2015 after a battle with brain cancer, her relationship with him impacted her future relationship with President Biden. He said he considered his son a lot when choosing Harris as his running mate.

At an event this weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada, she continued to support Biden while attacking former President Donald Trump

“In a real leader, character matters more than style, and Donald Trump simply does not have the character to be president of the United States,” Harris said. 

Kamala Harris’s political views

Harris has long supported gun control, equality for women and the LGBTQ community, and voting rights, but was criticized in her tenure as California’s attorney general for not investigating shootings by police.

Harris has called for policies such as the decriminalization of marijuana and cutting defense spending. She also released a climate equity plan with NY Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that would consider the impact of new climate policies on low-income communities.

Harris has previously referred to herself as a “progressive prosecutor,” and was endorsed by the police union when she was elected San Francisco district attorney. In this election, she beat her former boss, Terence Hallinan, who was viewed as one of the most progressive district attorneys in the nation.

During the Biden-Harris administration’s tenure, Harris has worked to fight for abortion rights and gun control. The administration has also approved billions of dollars in student debt relief

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FILE – Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at Planned Parenthood, March. 14, 2024, in St. Paul, Minn. Planned Parenthood will spend $40 million ahead of November’s elections to bolster President Joe Biden and leading congressional Democrats. It will initially target eight states: Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Montana, New Hampshire and New York. (AP Photo/Adam Bettcher, File)US Vice President Kamala Harris during a Juneteenth concert on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, US, on Monday, June 10, 2024. In 2021, US President Joe Biden signed legislation establishing Juneteenth as the nation’s newest Federal holiday. Photographer: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesFILE – President Joe Biden signs the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Washington. From left, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif, Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., Opal Lee, Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., obscured, Vice President Kamala Harris, House Majority Whip James Clyburn of S.C., Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)FILE – Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a campaign event in Elkins Park, Pa., May 8, 2024. Harris spent part of a Tuesday, June 4 episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” rehashing how she found out about former president Donald Trump’s conviction on 34 felony counts in his criminal hush money trial. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris arrive for a campaign event at Girard College, Wednesday, May 29, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)President Joe Biden hugs Vice President Kamala Harris during a campaign event at Girard College, Wednesday, May 29, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during an event at Discovery World Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)FILE – Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to the Indian American Impact Project’s Annual Summit, May 15, 2024, in Washington. The Biden campaign says Vice President Kamala Harris has accepted an invitation from CBS News to debate former President Donald Trump’s vice presidential pick this summer. Trump is expected to pick a running mate shortly before the Republican National Convention begins in Milwaukee on July 15. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Kamala Harris controversies

Harris has one of the lowest approval ratings of any vice president. According to a 538 poll, almost 50% of Americans disapprove of Harris as vice president, and only 38% approve of her. 

Her term has seen lots of turnover in her office, including the resignation of her chief of staff and deputy chief of staff. Politico reported an anonymous source said that they, along with the press secretary and communications director, resigned because they “often feel mistreated.” 

During her 2020 presidential campaign, Harris faced criticism about her tenure as California’s attorney general. During her tenure, she did not step in to investigate shootings by police in San Francisco amid calls to do so following the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Mo.

Kamala Harris’s personal life

Harris married lawyer Douglas Emhoff in 2014 and became the stepmother of his two children, Ella and Cole. She is 59 years old and grew up in California. 

Harris graduated from Howard University before attending law school at the University of California’s Hastings College of Law.