Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has congratulated United States Senator Kamala Harris on her selection as running mate to Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
The former Liberian leader congratulated senator Kamala Harris for being the first Asian American chosen for national office by a major political party as a vice running mate in the American history.
Former President Johnson Sirleaf tweeted: “Congratulations @KamalaHarris on being the first woman of color to become a VP nominee of a major US political party. As someone who has also been a ‘first,” I recognize the triumph in this moment and the challenges ahead. I wish you the best—and courage—for your journey.”
Harris is widely known for being the first woman and first black woman to serve as the state’s top law enforcement official and also the first black woman to serve in the U.S. Senate. The selection, according to NPR News will make Harris the third woman and first Black and first Asian American candidate to be nominated for vice president by a major political party.
A Background about Harris from NPR News
Harris was born in Oakland, Calif., and grew up in Berkeley. She’s the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants and attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., and the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.
She was a prosecutor in the Alameda County and San Francisco district attorney’s offices before running for San Francisco district attorney in 2003. She went on to win election as California attorney general in 2010.
In 2016, Harris became just the second Black woman in U.S. history to be elected to the U.S. Senate. She was assigned to the Intelligence Committee, which held several nationally televised hearings on Russia’s efforts to interfere in the presidential election, and how Trump’s campaign and the Department of Justice responded to those efforts.
The longtime prosecutor also sat on the Judiciary Committee, which oversaw the confirmation of two U.S. Supreme Court justices: Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.
The high-profile hearings that each committee held quickly helped Harris develop a national reputation as a sharp, aggressive questioner who could unnerve opposing witnesses. She generated headlines and energized progressives across the country with her questioning of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Attorney General William Barr, and, most notably, Kavanaugh.
In January 2019, Harris launched a bid for the White House. She was initially seen as a serious contender for the Democratic nomination, drawing more than 20,000 people to her kickoff rally in Oakland. But Harris struggled to articulate a clear reason for her candidacy in a crowded field, and her campaign experienced bouts of infighting.
Since returning full time to the Senate, Harris has played a lead role in Senate Democrats’ response to both the coronavirus crisis and the increased focus on systemic racism and police brutality.
Biden’s pick came amid intense pressure from Democrats not only to pick a woman, which he promised to do in March but also to pick a woman of color. That drumbeat began well before George Floyd’s killing at the hands of Minneapolis police but intensified amid sustained protests across the country.
Harris will be the fourth woman on a major party’s national ticket. All three women to run for president and vice president have lost: Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin in 2008 and Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro in 1984.
The only previous Black candidate on a presidential ticket, Obama, won the White House with Biden at his side in 2008.