US President-elect Joe Biden has said that he would be honoured to be serving with a “fantastic vice president” Kamala Harris, who scripted history by becoming the first woman and first daughter of immigrants ever elected to national office in this country.
The 56-year-old Democratic Senator from California, who on Saturday became America’s first female, first Black and first South Asian vice president-elect, represents a new face of political power.
“I will be honoured to be serving with a fantastic vice president – Kamala Harris – who will make history as the first woman, first Black woman, first woman of South Asian descent, and first daughter of immigrants ever elected to national office in this country,” Biden said in his victory speech in Wilmington, Delaware on Saturday night.
“It’s long overdue, and we’re reminded tonight of all those who fought so hard for so many years to make this happen. But once again, America has bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice,” he said.
“Kamala, Doug – like it or not – you’re family. You’ve become honorary Bidens and there’s no way out,” he said.
Biden, 77, and Harris would be sworn in as the president and vice president of the United States on January 20, 2021.
Harris, the daughter of an Indian mother and African-American father from Jamaica, thanked Biden for selecting her as his running mate.
“What a testament it is to Joe’s character that he had the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exists in our country and select a woman as his Vice President,” she said.
“But while I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities,” Harris said.
Biden, she said, is a healer, a uniter and a tested and steady hand. “A person whose own experience of loss gives him a sense of purpose that will help us, as a nation, reclaim our own sense of purpose. And a man with a big heart who loves with abandon,” she said.
“We are so grateful to Joe and Jill for welcoming our family into theirs on this incredible journey,” Harris added.
Harris was born in Oakland, California, in 1964, to parents who raised her in a bassinet of civil rights activism.
Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, from Chennai, was a breast cancer researcher; she died of cancer in 2009. Harris’ father, Donald, is a Jamaican American professor of economics.
On the campaign trail, the vice president-elect often talked about how her activist parents would push her in her stroller at civil rights marches. The couple divorced in 1972.
Harris grew up in the Bay Area but took frequent trips to India to visit extended family. At 12, she and her sister, Maya, moved with their mother to Montreal, where Gopalan Harris had secured a teaching post at McGill University as well as a research position at the Jewish General Hospital.
After graduating from Howard in 1986 for her undergraduate degree and from the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law in 1989, Harris passed the bar the following year and joined the Alameda County prosecutor’s office as an assistant district attorney. From there, she began her political ascent.
In 2003, Harris won her first race for San Francisco district attorney, becoming the first Black woman to hold such an office in California.
In 2010, she became the first Black woman elected as California attorney general, and in 2016, she became only the second Black woman ever elected as a US senator.
Harris tweeted a video of herself on the phone with President-elect Joe Biden shortly after she was projected their win.
“We did it, we did it, Joe. You’re going to be the next president of the United States,” she said with a signature laugh.