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Kamala Harris announces on MLK Day she’ll run for president

Former California AG is second black woman to serve in the Senate

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., announced she is running for president on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. She is the second black woman to serve in the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., announced she is running for president on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. She is the second black woman to serve in the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Sen. Kamala Harris announced on Martin Luther King Jr. Day that she is running for president, adding her name to a growing list of Democrats who are positioning themselves to run against President Donald Trump in 2020.

Harris, who was twice elected as California’s attorney general, is only the second black woman to serve in the U.S. Senate.

Harris threw her hat into the ring during an  interview today on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and in a video on her social media accounts. She is expected to formally launch her campaign in Oakland, Calif. on Sunday.

“My entire career has been focused on keeping people safe it is probably one of the things that has motivated me more than anything else,” Harris said on the show. “When I look at this moment in time, I know that the American people need someone who is going to fight for them, who is going to see them, who will hear them, who is going to care about them, who will be concerned about their experience, who is going to put them in front of self-interest.”

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The 2020 presidential race is expected to attract a historically large number of lawmakers and Democratic Party advocates. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a longtime avatar for the more progressive, pro-labor wing of the Democratic party, has formed an exploratory committee for a 2020 run. 

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has begun laying most of the groundwork for a 2020 presidential campaign.  

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard,  D-Hawaii, has said she has running, as has former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro.  Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has indicated he’ll be touring three states that could play a key role in the 2020 presidential primary.

Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, is seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for president.

And there is a long list of candidates on the left side of the aisle, including Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, California Rep. Eric Swalwell and former attorney general  Eric Holder.

Harris will explain why she is running for president, the challenges that face the nation and her vision, according to a statement.

“Harris believes that the time is now for us all to defend the American values of equality, decency, justice, and democracy — and her candidacy will be animated by her life’s work of fighting ‘for the people,’” according to the statement.

Harris is the  daughter of a Jamaican father and an Indian mother and  identifies as both African-American and South Asian-American.

She became San Francisco’s first female district attorney in 2003. when she was first elected as California’s attorney general in 2010, she was the first African-American and the first person of South Asian descent to hold the job.

Harris earned an undergraduate degree from Howard University and her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.


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