Washington: Joe Biden has picked Indian-origin Senator Kamala Devi Harris as his running mate, recognising the crucial role Black voters could play in his determined bid to defeat President Donald Trump in the US presidential election in November.
By naming the 55-year-old lawyer and politician from California as his running mate, Biden made history by selecting the first Black woman to compete on a major party’s presidential ticket.
Harris, whose father is an African from Jamaica and mother an Indian, is currently the US Senator from California and has been described as a trailblazer by former president Barack Obama.
Biden, 77, made the announcement in a text message to his supporters on Tuesday afternoon, ending days of suspense about a week ahead of his virtual Democratic National Convention that would formally nominate him as the party’s candidate for the November 3 presidential election, challenging Trump, a Republican.
“Joe Biden here. I’ve chosen Kamala Harris as my running mate. Together, with you, we’re going to beat Trump. Add your name to welcome her to the team, Biden said in his message.
Biden said Harris will be the best partner for him to finally get the country back on track.
He described her as “a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants”.
He noted how she had worked closely with his late son, Beau, when she was California’s attorney general.
“I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”
Harris later tweeted that Biden “can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals.
“I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.”
Biden pledged in March to name a woman on the ticket. He had faced mounting calls to pick a Black woman in recent months as the nation was hit by massive social unrest over police brutality against African Americans, a key voting bloc to the Democratic Party.
Joe Biden is running to restore the soul of the nation and unite the country to move us forward. Joe knows more about the importance of the Vice Presidency than just about anyone, and he is confident that Kamala Harris will be the best partner for him to finally get the country back on track, the Biden campaign said.
If elected she would be the first ever women to be the vice president of the US and the first ever Indian-American and African vice president of the country.
Explaining the reasons for selecting Harris as Biden’s running mate, the Biden campaign alleged that since Donald Trump became president, he has made everything worse.
He has pursued economic policies that reward wealth over work and benefited corporations and his buddies over working families. He has walked away from American leadership on the national stage. He has used division and stoked hatred for political purposes to pit Americans against one another, the campaign alleged.
A first term Democratic Senator from California, Harris had launched her presidential campaign in January 2019.
After initial few months, her campaign could not take off and by the end of the year, she withdrew from the race.
Early this year, she endorsed Biden for presidency and during the primaries and pre-primary season, she did not have a good relationship with Biden. They once again became allies in the last few months.
Biden started appreciating her skills. Harris raised millions of dollars for the Biden campaign.
Harris is known for many firsts. She has been a county district attorney; the district attorney for San Francisco the first woman and first African-American and Indian-origin to be elected to the position.
She was also the first female African-American and Indian-origin to become California’s attorney general. Harris became the first Indian-origin and second African-American woman to join the Senate, winning the California seat vacated by Senator Barbara Boxer, who retired after 24 years.
Harris held the first event of her 2020 presidential campaign in Washington on the landmark campus of Howard University, from which Harris earned an undergraduate degree in 1986.
Criminal justice and legal rights were central to her campaign themes.
Political pundits say that she would perform much better in the vice presidential debate against Vice President Mike Pence.
While she supports broader immigration overhaul legislation, she also contends that the deferred action for immigration enforcement against some immigrants could be substantially expanded even without congressional action.
Harris batted for H-4 work visas which mainly impacted Indian spouses.
During her presidential bid, she advocated for a proposal to direct the Department of Homeland Security to provide retroactive work authorisation for immigrants who came to the US as children often referred to as Dreamers.
Harris was born in Oakland and grew up in Berkeley. After her parents divorced, she spent her high school years living in French-speaking Canada her mother was teaching at McGill University in Montreal.
In 2010, Harris became the first Black woman to be elected as California’s Attorney General, overseeing the country’s second largest Justice Department, only behind the US Department of Justice. (PTI)
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