The NY Times give us a look at the US Senator from California….
Senator Kamala Harris of California, whom Joseph R. Biden Jr.announced on Tuesday as his pick for vice president, will be the first Black woman and the first person of Indian descent to be nominated for national office by a major party. A pragmatic moderate and one of Mr. Biden’s former rivals in the presidential race, Ms. Harris was a barrier-breaking prosecutor before being elected to the Senate in 2016.
Ms. Harris, 55, was born in Oakland, Calif. She is a former attorney general of California and a former San Francisco district attorney.
When she announced her own bid for the presidency — on Martin Luther King’s Birthday in 2019 — she pitched herself as a history-making candidate, paying homage to Shirley Chisholm, the New York congresswoman who became the first woman to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for president.
Ms. Harris’s record as a prosecutor — she was the San Francisco district attorney from 2004 to 2011, and the California attorney general from 2011 to 2017 — was a major theme of her presidential campaign and will almost certainly be discussed in the general election, especially given the national outcry over police brutality and systemic racism since the killing of George Floyd.
Ms. Harris has described herself as a “progressive prosecutor” and argued that it is possible to be tough on crime while also confronting the deep inequities of the criminal justice system. She has said she became a prosecutor because she believed she could best change the system from within, a message that became a key part of her pitch as a presidential candidate: that voters could trust her to overhaul the justice system because she knew it “from the inside out.”
But aspects of her record have been a source of criticism, especially from the left.
As attorney general, she rarely prosecuted police officers who killed civilians, though by the time she left that office, she had opened some reviews of police departments. She was also criticized for refusing to allow advanced DNA testing that might have exonerated Kevin Cooper, a Black man on death row, and for defending some convictions against allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.
An opponent of the death penalty, she refused to seek it when a police officer was killed in San Francisco in 2004 — an episode that drew protests at the time but that she has pointed to as an example of her commitment to a fairer criminal justice system. But 10 years later, when a judge declared California’s death penalty unconstitutional, she appealed the decision, saying she was obligated to do so as the state’s attorney general.
The criminal justice plan she released during her presidential campaign contained a number of progressive policies that she had opposed earlier in her career.
Elected to the Senate in 2016, Ms. Harris was the first Black woman in the chamber in more than a decade. During her relatively brief time as California’s junior senator, she has become known for her intensive interrogations of Trump administration officials and nominees, including Brett M. Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing and Attorney General Jeff Sessions during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.
In recent years, she sought to align herself more with the Democratic Party’s left wing, initially supporting Senator Bernie Sanders’s “Medicare for all” bill before shifting her position during the presidential campaign. She has also backed proposals to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and revise the country’s bail system.
Ms. Harris has been a vocal supporter of racial justice legislation in response to the killing of Mr. Floyd, supporting proposals to overhaul policing and make lynching a federal crime.
She serves on several high-profile committees in the Senate, including the Intelligence Committee and the Judiciary Committee….