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Kamala Harris shines as a political star

By Kenneth D. Miller/Special to the NNPA from the/LA Watts Times
On June 15, 2015
Kamala Harris

California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris is making a run for the U.S. Senate in 2016.
Credit: Steve Rhodes/Creative Commons

Many of us can recall the 2004 Democratic Convention when the relatively unknown Illinois Senator Barack Obama delivered the keynote speech.

In 2008, that U.S. Senator became the first Black President of the United States and will be completing his second term in 2016.

On May 15, the California Democratic Convention kicked off in Anaheim, California. More than 3,000 Democrats converged for the party’s largest gathering of the year.

The name with the most buzz is Kamala Harris, California’s attorney general and U.S. Senate candidate.

Harris packs the same charisma and political star appeal as Obama, which is how she brought thousands of cheering Democrats to their feet, waving campaign signs for her race for Senate. She earned a warm welcome and a ringing endorsement from the event’s headliner, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Her opponent in the Senate race, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana), didn’t help herself when she got criticized for showing up at a party caucus and describing American Indians by putting her hand over her mouth and mimicking a war cry.

Harris’ mother is Indian and her father Jamaican.

“I don’t know what to say to that. That – that – that’s shocking,” said Harris, raising her eyebrows in disbelief when the comments were shared with her after an afternoon news conference.

She then went on about her business at the convention, attended by heavy hitters such as Rep. Maxine Waters, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Lt. Gov. Jerry Brown and many others.

However, all eyes were on Harris, the two term AG who is taking a big step to replace retiring veteran Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Aside from the race for president in 2016, the Senate seat for Boxer will be a bell ringer and hotly contested, pitting a Latino, Sanchez, against an African American, Harris, and those are just the only two we know of at the moment.

Warren, who endorsed Harris soon after the attorney general announced her run in January, said she was happy to help a friend who fought alongside her to protect consumers who were “tricked and trapped” by bad mortgages when the housing bubble burst.

“I will tell you what it means to stand up for the people,” said Harris. “It means standing up for an economy that works for all people.”

Harris has already raised $2.5 million and has a long list of party leaders backing her, but the race will likely be the most expensive on the ticket, next to that of the president.

There are more than 7.5 million registered Democrats in California – 44.49 percent of California voters.

The Democratic Party and its members are responsible for some of our nation’s most important and impactful legislation: Social Security, Medicare, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Most recently, California Democrats played a leading role in helping President Obama pass the historic Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, ending the insurance company practice of denying coverage to children because of pre-existing conditions and lowering the cost of health care for millions of Americans.

Harris spoke at the convention on May 16 and pledged to stand up for people and fight for universal preschool. She also has vowed to fight for full-day kindergarten and affordable child care for all families, as well as for students against diploma mills that “strapped them with useless degrees and a lifetime of debt.”

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