Kamala Harris: Timeline & Major Facts
Here is a look at key events in the life of the 49th Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris, America’s first female and first African-American vice president.
Quick Facts about Kamala Harris
Born: Kamala Devi Harris
Birth Day and Place: October 20, 1964; Oakland, California, United States
Mother: Shyamala Gopalan Harris
Father: Donald Jasper Harris
Siblings: Younger sister – Maya Harris
Education: University of California (Hastings College of the Law); Howard University; Westmount High School
Spouse: Douglas Emhoff (married in 2014)
Political Party: Democratic Party
Elected offices: 49th Vice President of the United States (2021- ); U.S. Senator from California (2017-2021); 32nd Attorney General of California (2011-2017); 27th District Attorney for San Francisco (2004-2011)
Most famous for: America’s first female and first African-American vice president; Running mate for 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden; First female African-American Attorney General in the State of California; First African American to serve as a running mate for a major political party in America
Kamala Harris: Timeline
1964: Born in Oakland, California to parents Gopalan Harris and Donald J. Harris
1975: Her parents’ marriage comes to an end in a divorce
1976: Kamala, her mother, and her sister move to Montreal, Canada
1976: Enrolls at Notre-Dame-des-Neiges
1981: Graduates from Westmount High School, Quebec, Canada
1982: Enrolls at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
1986: Graduates from Howard with a BA in political science and economics
1987: Moves to California to read law at the University of California – Hastings College of the Law
1989: Graduates from Hastings College of the Law with a Juris Doctor
June, 1990: Passes the California Bar exams
1990: Appointed assistant district attorney in Alameda County, California
1994: Works at the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board
February, 1998: Appointed assistant district attorney at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office
2000: Resigns her job at the DA office over Proposition 21, a law that sought to try juveniles in the Superior Court instead of the juvenile courts
August, 2000: Works at the Family and Children’s Service Division at San Francisco City Hall
2002: Defeats incumbent Terence Hallinan to become the 27th DA of San Francisco; she pulled 56% of the vote.
2005: Establishes the environmental crimes unit
2007: Buoyed on by her tough stance on crime, Harris goes unopposed in the 2007 District Attorney of San Francisco election
2008: Announced her intentions to run for California attorney general
June, 2010: Secured the Democratic Party nomination for California attorney general; her candidacy was supported by the likes of House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Barbara Boxer.
2010: Runs against and defeats Republican Steve Cooley to get elected California attorney general
2011: Establishes the Mortgage Fraud Strike Force to aid foreclosure victims
2013: Combines forces with Assembly speaker John Pérez and Senator Darrell Steinberg in pushing for the Homeowner Bill of Rights
2014: Defeats Republican Ronald Gold and gets re-elected California attorney general; Harris secures 57.5% of the votes, as against Gold’s 42.5%
2015: Declares her intention to run for the Senate seat vacated by long-serving California junior Senator Barbara Boxer
February, 2016: Harris wins almost 80% of the votes at the California Democratic Party convention
November, 2016: Backed by Barack Obama and Joe Biden, Harris runs against Democrat Loretta Sanchez in the general election; Harris secures close to 60 percent of the votes
2017: Sharply condemns newly sworn in U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision (Executive Order 13769) to bar citizens from a number of Muslim-dominated countries across the world
2017-2018: Opposes virtually all President Trump’s cabinet picks: Jeff Sessisons (for U.S. Attorney General); Betsy DeVos (for Secretary of Education)
April, 2017: Votes against Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
January, 2018: Following the resignation of Al Franken, Senator Harris gets appointed to the Senate Judiciary Committee
May, 2018: Harris and her colleagues question Mark Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook) over Facebook’s alleged violation of regulations concerning users’ data
September-October 2018: Takes part in the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh
November 2019: Calls on the authorities to swiftly investigate the death of a transgender woman Roxsana Hernández, who was detained by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)
January, 2019: Announces her intention to run for President of the United States in the 2020 U.S. presidential elections
December, 2019: Owing to increasingly poor polls, Harris ends her bid for the Democratic Party presidential ticket
2020: Issues a rallying call for the impeachment trial of Donald Trump to go unimpeded
2020: Supports the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, which allocates $740 billion to the Department of Defense
August 11, 2020: The presidential candidate of the Democratic Party, Joe Biden, names Kamala Harris as his running mate ahead of the 2020 U.S. Presidential elections; Harris thus becomes the third female vice presidential running mate in American history, coming in behind Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin
January 20, 2021: Sworn into office as the 49th Vice President of the United States
Other Interesting Facts about Kamala Harris
- Her mother – Shyamala Gopalan Harris – migrated from India at the age of 19 and enrolled as a biology and nutrition student at the University of California, Berkeley. After receiving her PhD in 1964, Shyamala proceeded to have a very successful career.
- Kamala Harris’ father Donald J. Harris – a Jamaican immigrant – enrolled as a graduate student in economics at the University of California, Berkeley. He later became a Stanford University professor emeritus of economics.
- During her 2002 campaign for DA of San Francisco, she vowed never to support the death penalty. Her campaign was backed by celebs such as Chris Rock and Eddie Griffin, and former mayor Willie Brown. Her previous work experience at the DA office gave her a huge advantage at the election as she was able to point out the deficiencies in incumbent Terrence Hallinan’s leadership. Harris defeated Hallinan, pulling 56% of the votes.
- In 2020, Kamala Harris was described by former U.S. president Barack Obama as the “ideal partner” to run with Joe Biden in the 2020 US presidential election.
- Her 2020 nomination as the vice presidential candidate for the Democratic Party makes her the first African American and the first Asian American to hold that honor.