LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kamala Harris, a first-term senator and former California attorney general known for her rigorous questioning of President Donald Trump's nominees, entered the Democratic presidential race on Monday. Vowing to "bring our voices together," Harris would be the first woman to hold the presidency and the second African-American if she succeeds.
Though she has served only two years in the Senate, Harris has drawn attention from Democrats for her trenchant examinations on the Senate Judiciary Committee, particularly during last year's Supreme Court confirmation hearings for now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Harris, who grew up in Oakland, California, and is a daughter of parents from Jamaica and India, is one of the earliest high-profile Democrats to join what is expected to be a crowded field. She made her long-anticipated announcement on ABC's "Good Morning America."
The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign as she announced her bid. "They're the values we as Americans cherish, and they're all on the line now," Harris says in the video . "The future of our country depends on you and millions of others lifting our voices to fight for our American values."
On ABC, she cited her years as a prosecutor in asserting: "My entire career has been focused on keeping people safe. It is probably one of the things that motivates me more than anything else."
Harris launched her presidential as the nation observes what would have been the 90th birthday of the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The timing was a clear signal that the California senator— who has joked that she had a "stroller's-eye view" of the civil rights movement because her parents wheeled her and her sister Maya to protests — sees herself as another leader in that fight.
Harris launches her campaign fresh off of a tour to promote her latest memoir, "The Truths We Hold," which was widely seen as a stage-setter for a presidential bid.
Harris is framing her campaign through her courtroom experience. The theme of her nascent campaign is "Kamala Harris, for the people," the same words she spoke as a prosecutor, trying a case in the courtroom.
She plans a formal campaign launch in Oakland on Jan. 27. The campaign will be based in Baltimore, with a second office in Oakland.
Harris graduated Howard University, is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and also attend Hastings College of Law.