October 3, 2018



U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, potential presidential candidate in 2020


Democrat Kamala Harris, the junior U.S. senator from California, has emerged as a possible 2020 presidential candidate.


Signs point to a likely run at the White House, including her appearance in a key congressional battleground state as the keynote speaker Saturday at the Cincinnati NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner.


But her standard answer, when asked whether she plans to run: "I'm not ruling it out."


Yet there are signs she is preparing for a run. She will be in Columbus on Sunday to deliver the keynote speech at the Ohio Democratic Party's state dinner.


The upcoming publication of her memoir, "The Truths We Hold: An American Journey," scheduled for Jan. 8, 2019 release by Penguin Press, is another strong hint of her presidential aspirations.


Former vice president Joe Biden and current senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Bernie Sanders of Vermont are potential candidates for the Democratic nomination.


Harris, like Warren, has been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Harris elevated her profile with her intense questioning of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.


The conservative National Review magazine termed her the frontrunner coming out of the Kavanaugh hearings, writing under the headline "Kamala Harris wins the Democrats' Kavanaugh Primary" as the "most hostile inquisitor."


Harris, a career prosecutor twice elected California attorney general, was born in Oakland to a Jamaican father and Indian mother. She won a 2016 Senate election to replace outgoing Barbara Boxer and became the first Indian-American and the second African-American woman to serve in the U.S. Senate.


On Thursday, the day Kavanaugh and the woman who has accused him of sexual assault when they were in high school, California professor Christine Blasey Ford, testified before the committee. Harris told Ford, "First of all ... you are not on trial. … I believe you."


The day before, though she was running 20 minutes behind, Harris, 53, spoke to The Enquirer via phone from her Capitol Hill office.



                     California US Senator Kamala Harris 


Question: Can you explain your approach to your role in Judiciary Committee hearings?


A:  That is the benefit or the downside of being the most junior member. My turn is last. When certain issues have not been raised, they must be raised. If it's about race or gender, I am going to raise them. By the time it gets to me, if it hasn't been raised, I'll raise questions about climate change, about the need to pay attention to wage inequality, about reinforcing states' election committees. 


When I am in these hearings, I think about the questions the American public is asking. We're in the role of oversight. It's not about grand gestures when I am in there. It's about the American people, especially when people avoid or dodge questions.


Q:What is the essence of the message you will deliver here to the NAACP?


A: A lot of what I've been thinking about lately … this is an inflection moment in our county. This is a time when we have to think about what kind of country we want to be. What we're fighting for. What we're fighting against. Everything we do is about love of country. We have to speak truth.


A lot of folks who are running (for office) in Ohio will be representing the state and the country. I'll be emphasizing what Ohioans do in this election cycle impacts the entire country, including my constituents in California.


Q: As a national leader in the Senate, what is your view of the country today?


A: We're better than this. It's a universal message. In traveling around the country and talking about the things I think, I see that we have so much more in common than what is different.


Q: Much has been made of your racial and ethnic background. How does that affect your perspective on the country and what's happening today with the rise of white nationalism?


A: My family is part of it. We're a great country. We're worth fighting for what's best in us. Part of my background as a career prosecutor has shown me the high ideals that are tied to who we are. It's the history of the country, as flawed as it might be. The best of who we are is our desire to be great. We're an aspirational country. 


Q: Your father was a college professor. Your mother was a breast cancer researcher who also taught. You have taught. What is your message to young people during these polarized times?


A: I would tell them two things. One, leadership starts the day you're born. You decide when you kick it in. It's not an age or profession or title. It's now. 


Two, this is an extraordinary time. When I came out of school, things were being done the way they had always been done. These kids are going to come out of college and are going to leapfrog us (because of their technical skills and worldliness). I would encourage them to chase their passion and not the title or the salary. Those things will come if you chase your passion.


It is still unknown if Senator Harris will run for the 2020 Presidential Election.





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