Decision 2020

South Florida Leaders React to Kamala Harris' Vice Presidential Nomination

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Months after ending her bid for president, California Sen. Kamala Harris is getting a second chance at the Democratic ticket this November.

On Tuesday, Harris was named as Joe Biden’s pick for Vice President, a decision partially motivated by the current push for social justice and racial reckoning nationwide. 

"This is important that the Biden campaign knows that African Americans are enthusiastic; a lot of African Americans, like many Americans, can identify and felt identified with the Black Lives Matter movement," said NBC 6 Political Analyst Carlo Curbelo.

Harris, 55, is a Democrat from Oakland, California, and was born to immigrant parents from India and Jamaica. 

Harris went to Howard University, one of the nation’s top historically Black colleges and universities. 

She became the district attorney in San Francisco in 2003 before being elected as the first woman and Black person to serve as California’s attorney general.

"The No. 1 pick when choosing a vice presidential candidate is 'do no harm,'" Curbelo said. "It certainly looks like that's what the Biden campaign has done here in choosing Sen. Kamala Harris. She's someone who has experience, has served as attorney general for a major state, serves now in the state senate, and, although, she is certainly a liberal, does not have a history of highly controversial remarks or some of the baggage that some of the candidates would have brought onto the ticket."

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he was “surprised” Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris, D-Calif., as his running mate, given her performance in the primaries and her treatment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings. “She was extraordinarily nasty to Judge Kavanaugh,” he said. “She was nasty to a level that was just a horrible thing.”

Harris announced her bid for president in January 2019 but withdrew from the race in December, citing a lack of campaign funds.

Last year, Harris was among several presidential hopefuls to visit South Florida, making a stop at the Homestead Detention Center. 

"Just last year, (Harris) joined me and (Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava) to help bring attention to the plight of children in migrant detention centers," Rep, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell said in a tweet. "Folks, together, we shut down the Homestead Child Detention Facility. I know first hand, (Harris) knows how to fight - and win."

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a series of tweets that she was "thrilled" about Harris joining the ticket.

"This is a historic choice amidst many well-qualified choices on Biden’s short list, including Florida’s very own Val Demings," she wrote. "On behalf of my constituents, I am very eager for Sen. Harris, someone I proudly call a friend, to show Americans what two competent, smart and qualified presidential candidates look like on one ticket."

"Amid the historic social unrest, pandemic and economic crisis this nation faces, this is the sharp, honest and steady leadership team that America needs right now."

Harris also stood out during the 2019 Democratic debate in Miami taking a swing at Biden for once opposing mandatory busing of students to desegregated public schools. 

Former President Barack Obama released this statement on the VP pick saying in part: “Joe Biden nailed this decision. By choosing Senator Kamala Harris as America’s next vice president, he’s underscored his own judgment and character.” 

Harris is the first Black woman to be nominated for Vice President. 

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