A lifelong public safety and civil rights leader, Senator-elect Kamala D. Harris is the first African American and first woman to serve as Attorney General of California and the second African American woman to be elected to the United States Senate in history.
Throughout her career as a prosecutor, Harris has been a tireless advocate for the most voiceless and vulnerable Californians.
As California’s Attorney General, Harris prosecuted transnational gangs exploiting women and children and trafficking in guns and drugs and led comprehensive studies on the impacts of transnational criminal organizations and human trafficking in California.
Harris fought for Californians hit hardest during the state and national mortgage crisis, won $20 billion for homeowners, created a multidivisional Mortgage Fraud Strike Force to crack down on fraud and passed the “Homeowners Bill of Rights,” establishing the nation’s most comprehensive anti-foreclosure protections.
Harris has worked intensively to protect children and students. She established California’s Bureau of Children’s Justice and fought to reduce elementary school truancy so that every California child can exercise his or her constitutional right to an education. As Attorney General, Harris successfully sued predatory for-profit colleges scamming students and veterans.
Harris aggressively defended the rights of consumers. She won major settlements for consumers, forged innovative agreements with the technology industry to improve privacy protections and cracked down on piracy and online crime. Harris also fought to protect California’s environment, prosecuted polluters, helped win marriage equality for all Californians and defended the Affordable Care Act.
Throughout her career, Harris has been a leading advocate for innovation and reform in the criminal justice system. Harris worked to increase the adoption of technology and data-driven policing to assist law enforcement in the efficient investigation and prosecution of crime, established the first Office of Recidivism Reduction and Reentry and pioneered the nation’s first open data initiative to expose racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
Harris served two terms as District Attorney of San Francisco. Defeating a two-term incumbent, she was first elected DA in 2003, and was overwhelmingly elected to a second term in November 2007.
Harris began her career in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, where she specialized in prosecuting child sexual assault cases. In 1998, she joined the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, where she led the Career Criminal Unit. She also served as the head of the San Francisco City Attorney’s Division on Children and Families.
Born in Oakland, California, Harris is a graduate of Howard University, America’s oldest historically black university. She received her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She is married to Doug Emhoff and is the author of the book Smart on Crime: A Career Prosecutor's Plan to Make Us Safer.
Harris has a long record as a prosecutor protecting public safety and defending immigrants, refugees and their families. Harris partnered with law enforcement agencies in Mexico and Central America to tackle trans-national gangs that smuggle drugs, human beings and weapons across our border. She fought to pass the TRUST Act in California that protected immigrant victims of crime and outlawed retaliation for undocumented immigrants who reported crimes. She cracked down on notarios and scammers who sought to prey upon undocumented immigrants. Because of her leadership, thousands of unaccompanied children fleeing violence from Central America received legal counsel as they navigated the complex immigration process. Harris has prosecuted businesses that engaged in wage theft and fought for protections for immigrants in the workplace. She has been a leading voice for increasing -- not stopping -- the number of refugees our country accepts from Syria and other war-torn countries. She will continue working hard for the rights of all residents and Americans through the course of her work on the Homeland Security Committee. CommitteeWebsite
As a prosecutor, Harris has long fought for smarter approaches to intelligence and law enforcement strategies, and has taken on international cyber-crime. She will take this "smart" framework that relies heavily on prevention, data collection and technology advancements to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Much of Harris’ work as Attorney General focused on fighting cyber-crime. She created the largest e-crime unit in the nation and a privacy enforcement and protection unit within the California Attorney General’s office. Together these units helped focused law enforcement on crimes committed through the use of technology and the protection of consumer privacy online. Her Department of Justice wrote California’s first reports on commercial and government data breaches and conducted trainings for California businesses to help them better secure consumer data. She also led a delegation of state attorneys general to Mexico to bolster bilateral collaboration on fighting cyber-crime. CommitteeWebsite
Harris will bring a wealth of experience defending California's landmark environmental and climate change protections to the U.S. Senate. As a prosecutor, she prosecuted Big Oil companies and big corporate polluters. She partnered with other Attorneys General to defend President Obama's Clean Power Plan and she will fight hard against any attempts to roll back critical environmental protections. And she has long been a proponent of investing in clean energy technology and green energies jobs that can fuel our economy and move our country away from fossil fuels. Much of the committee’s work involves funding and approving infrastructure projects, and California has more than $59 billion in unmet transportation needs. Harris will fight for smart infrastructure investments that can help fuel long-term economic growth. CommitteeWebsite
Harris will be on the front lines of the fight to defend the Affordable Care Act as a member of the Committee on Budget. As Attorney General, she defended the law in court from numerous legal challenges and has aggressively fought to expand healthcare access for Californians. California has been a leader in the country under Obamacare, running one of the most successful exchanges in the nation and funding health care for almost 5 million individuals under the law. Harris will continue to advance California's leadership on this issue and fight for health care for all Americans.