Margaret Eby
January 14, 2015 12:55 pm

Have you heard of Kamala Harris? If you haven’t yet, you will soon. Harris, the current California Attorney General and former District Attorney of San Francisco, just announced yesterday that she’s making a bid to run for California Senator Barbara Boxer’s seat in 2016. Harris is turning some very serious heads, and has been for quite some time. How serious? She’s often called “the female Obama;” the wording is a little sexist, but the comparison is one that certainly grounds how seriously she’s being taken.

Harris, a 50-year-old politician, was born in Oakland to academically pedigreed parents: Her dad is a Jamaican-American economics professor at Stanford and her mom is an India-born cancer specialist. Growing up, Harris told the San Francisco Chronicle, she considered lawyers to be her heroes. “They were the architects of the civil rights movement,” Harris said. “I thought that that was the way you do good things and serve and achieve justice.”

So Harris went to law school at Howard University, and quickly began climbing to the top. As the San Francisco District Attorney from 2004 to 2011, she stood on principle against the death penalty and for gun control. She is also pro-choice and highly-pro equal rights. In 2010, she became the first woman, and the first woman of color to serve as the California Attorney General. Harris was also invited to give a speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. A choice that shows the party is interested in having her on the national stage.

Today, the party is excited about Harris but it’s undeniably stressful being “the next big thing.” The next hurdle in her political career will be the 2016 election. After that who knows? If she wins, it will be the dawning of a new generation of leaders in California, and very much a symbol of the political talent that will next be rising to the top. The Atlantic called her, “one of the highest-profile apostles of Barack Obama’s model of Democratic politics: high-achieving, diverse meritocrats who run on personal background and serve without drama.” That really doesn’t sound too shabby to us. 

Other things to know about Harris? She’s a chef and “not a morning person.” In a cringe-worthy comment, Obama once called her the “best-looking attorney general in the country.” But more importantly, she’s also being eyed for a potential White House run. Some commenters are even considering Harris a potential presidential candidate in 2016 — though that seems like a bit of a long shot. We’re a ways yet from that particular political news cycle, but one thing’s for sure: Harris is worth keeping your eye on. You’ll be hearing a lot more about her, that’s for sure.

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