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Who is Kamala Harris? US senator and Joe Biden’s vice-presidential running mate

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California Senator Kamala Harris has been named as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate in the upcoming US general election.

Ms Harris, 55, is a battle-tested former presidential candidate and fits the bill set out by Mr Biden, who had vowed to choose a woman as his potential vice president.

She is the first black woman and first person of Indian descent to be nominated for national office by a major party, and only the fourth woman to be chosen on a presidental ticket.

Mr Biden made the long-awaited announcemnt on Tuesday, August 11 ahead of Democrats’ national convention, which is scheduled to take place between August 17-20.

Ms Harris endorsed Mr Biden in March as the Democrats’ challenger to Republican President Donald Trump for the White House after dropping out of the race herself.

Here’s what you need to know about her:

Ms Harris was elected to the Senate in 2016 (AFP via Getty Images)

Who is Kamala Harris?

The daughter of Jamaican and Indian parents, Ms Harris was born on October 20, 1964, in Oakland, California.

She went on to earn an undergraduate degree from Howard University and a law degree from the University of California and embark on a career in the law which would see her serve as a San Francisco district attorney and attorney general of California – the first African-American and first woman to do so – prior to transitioning into politics.

Ms Harris was elected to the Senate in 2016, becoming the second African-American woman and first South Asian-American senator in history, according to her website.

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She has since served on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on the Judiciary, and the Committee on the Budget.

During her bid for the Democratic nomination, Ms Harris pitched herself as a history-making candidate who could appeal to both progressives and moderates.

But she dropped out of the race in December 2019 after suffering a decline in the polls, saying dwindling donations had made it “harder and harder” to compete.

Her wavering views on how to solve the nation’s healthcare problems and whether to embrace her past as a prosecutor were among the missteps that dragged down the campaign after its glitzy launch at the beginning of that year.

After dropping out, Ms Harris endorsed Mr Biden and went on to win praise from a wide range of Democrats for being an outspoken advocate for police reform during recent mass anti-racism demonstrations sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

Ms Harris and Mr Biden clashed during a Democratic primary debate in June last year about the latter’s past work with senators who favoured racial segregation and his previous opposition to a policy combating segregation in schools.

Mr Biden, who served two terms as vice-president to Barack Obama, America’s first black president, later said he “detested” the segregationists’ views amid a backlash over his work with with two southern Democratic senators, Mississippi’s James Eastland and Georgia’s Herman Talmadge, after joining the Senate himself in the 1970s.

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