When she is sworn in as Vice President on January 20, 2021, Kamala Harris will be not only be the first female vice president of the United States, but will also be highest-ranking female elected official in U.S. history. The junior Untied States Senator from California will also be the nation’s first African-American and first Asian-American (Kamala’s mother is from India) vice president.
Besides knowing that Kamala is one of the two senators from California, a Howard University Alumni, and a stepmother to her husband, Doug Emfoff’s two children from his previous marriage, there are probably a few things that you didn’t know about the vice-president elect.
Now, with all of that information being said, listed down below are 10 Facts That You Probably Didn’t Know About Kamala Harris:
1. She’s Not The First Woman To Be on The Presidential Ticket of a Major Party:
Although Kamala Harris will be the first woman to be elected vice-president or President of the United States, she’s not the first one to have been on The Presidential Ticket of a Major Party. When Joe Biden officially announced her as his running mate this past August, it was only the third time in United States history that the vice presidential nominee of a major political party has been a woman, after Geraldine Ferraro was named the Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee in 1984 and Sarah Palin was named the Republican Vice Presidential Nominee in 2008. Meanwhile, former First Lady, Senator of New York, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the only woman to have been nominated for president of the United States by a major political party when she won the Democratic Party nomination in 2016.
2. Her Younger Sister, Maya Is Also Active In The Political World:
While the majority of people know that Kamala has a close relationship with her younger sister Maya, a lot of people don’t know is that the latter is also active in the political world (not as a politician like her big sister). Maya Harris was not only the chairwoman of her big sister’s 2020 campaign for president (until its suspension), but she also served as one of the three senior policy advisors for Hilary Clinton during her 2016 Presidential Campaign.
Besides being part of two presidential campaigns, Maya has also worked as a political and legal analyst for MSNBC from 2017-2018.
3. The Meaning of Her Name “Kamala”:
The vice president-elect’s first name was chosen by her mother, the late Shyamala Gopalan, as a nod to her Indian roots (Gopalan was born in India). Kamala means “lotus flower,” a plant holding deep meaning in Indian culture. Kamala is also another name for Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess and the empowerment of women.
4. She Was Close With Joe Biden’s Late Son Beau:
Prior to being elected as a senator of California in 2016, Kamala Harris previously served as the Attorney General of California from January 2011- January 2017. In her previous job, she worked closely with the Attorney Generals of the other 49 states. One of her closet friendships was with the late Beau Biden, the son (and eldest child) of President-elect Joe Biden and the Attorney General of Delaware from January 2007 to January 2015.
As NBC reported, both Kamala and Beau worked closely together on major issues, including ones pertaining to the big banks following the 2008 financial crisis. In her 2019 memoir “The Truths We Hold: An American Journey,” Kamala stated that she and Beau, who passed away from glioblastoma (an aggressive form of brain cancer) in 2015, “talked every day, sometimes multiple times a day.”
5. The Nickname Her Stepchildren Gave Her:
Kamala has been married to her husband, attorney Doug Emhoff since 2014. Although the pair have no children, she is a stepmother to Emhoff’s two children (a son Cole and a daughter Ella) from his previous marriage to film producer Kerstin Emhoff. The vice president-elect is close with her stepchildren, who affectionately call her “Momala”. In addition, Kamala has a close friendship with her husband’s ex-wife.
6. She’s an Author:
In addition to her New York Times Best-Selling 2019 Memoir “The Truths We Hold: An American Journey,” Kamala has also written a children’s book and another non-fiction book. The children’s book, “Superheroes Are Everywhere,” was released in early 2019 and aims to teach children that superheroes are everywhere (from family members, to friends, to teachers at school and college) in real life, and that they can be one too.
Kamala’s other nonfiction book “Smart on Crime: A Career Prosecutor’s Plan to Make Us Safer,” was published in 2009, right as she began her 2010 campaign for Attorney General of California, outlines her vision of how the criminal justice system should function. The 2009 book also details her experiences as a career prosecutor.
7. Her Favorite Books:
According to a 2019 article by BookRiot on what each of the 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates’ favorite books were, the five novels that Kamala Harris enjoys the most are Native Son by Richard Wright, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.
8. Trump Has Donated To Her Election Campaigns:
Despite the frequent attacks by President Donald Trump throughout the 2020 election, one of the most surprising facts that a lot of people don’t know about Kamala Harris is that Trump has made two campaign donations to her state attorney general re-election campaign twice.
The first donation occurred in 2011, when Trump contribute $5,000 to her campaign. The second donation happened in 2013 and was $1,000. In addition, Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter, donated $2,000 to the then-state attorney general a year later.
9. She Led a Demonstration at the Age of 13:
When Kamala was 13-years-old, she and her younger sister Maya led a successful demonstration in front of their apartment building in protest of a policy that banned children from playing on the front lawn. The policy was eventually reversed.
10. Her Committee Assignments While Serving In The Senate:
During her tenure as a Senator (As the vice president-elect, she’s expected to resign (she has not done so yet, as of December 28) from her seat prior to taking office on January 20, 2021) Kamala Harris was a member of the following committees: the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on the Budget.
Which of the following facts listed above were you the most surprised to discover about Kamala Harris? Let us know which facts down below in the comments section!
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I am currently a senior at The University of Miami. I will graduate in December 2021 with a major in Journalism and minor in Sports Administration.