WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday named California Senator Kamala Harris to be his vice-presidential running mate.
Harris becomes the first African American nominated for Vice President by a major party.
"I have the great honor to announce that I've picked @KamalaHarris-- a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country's finest public servants -- as my running mate," Biden said in a post on Twitter, fulfilling a promise that he would tell his followers and supporters first of his pick.
"Back when Kamala was Attorney General, she worked closely with Beau. I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse. I was proud then, and I am proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign," Biden added.
Harris was the first Black woman to represent California in the United States Senate. Her father immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica to study economics and her mother immigrated from India. Some have questioned her African American heritage because her parents are immigrants and not descendants of slaves. Similarly Barack Obama, the son of a white American mother and a black Kenyan father who came to the United States for college, came under the same scrutiny.
"@JoeBiden can unify the American people because he's spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he'll build an America that lives up to our ideals. I'm honored to join him as our party's nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief," Harris said in a tweet Tuesday.
Biden later issued a statement confirming and outlining the reasons for his choice.
"You make a lot of important decisions as president. But the first one is who you select to be your Vice President. I've decided that Kamala Harris is the best person to help me take this fight to Donald Trump and Mike Pence and then to lead this nation starting in January 2021," he said.
"These aren't normal times. For the first time in our history, we're facing three historic crises -- all at the same time. We're facing the worst pandemic in 100 years. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The most powerful calls for racial justice in a generation. And we have a president who has both failed to lead on the virus -- costing lives and decimating our economy -- and fanned the flames of hate and division."
"I need someone working alongside me who is smart, tough, and ready to lead. Kamala is that person," said Biden.
"I need someone who understands the pain that so many people in our nation are suffering. Whether they've lost their job, their business, a loved one to this virus. This president says he "doesn't want to be distracted by it". He doesn't understand that taking care of the people of this nation -- all the people -- isn't a distraction -- it's the job. Kamala understands that."
"I need someone who understands that we are in a battle for the soul of this nation. And that if we're going to get through these crises -- we need to come together and unite for a better America. Kamala gets that," Biden said in his statement.
"If I'm President, I'm committed to making things better -- not just in the short term, but sustainably, structurally, and permanently. We won't have time to delay. I need a partner who can help deliver on those promises, and quickly."
"I was privileged to serve this nation for two terms as Vice President alongside President Obama, a man of extraordinary character who I believe will go down in history as one of our great presidents. So, I know a thing or two about being Vice President. More than anything, I know it can't be a political decision. It has to be a governing decision. If the people of this nation entrust me and Kamala with the office of President and Vice President for the next four years, we're going to inherit a nation in crisis, a nation divided, and a world in disarray. We won't have a minute to waste," Biden said.
"That's what led me to Kamala Harris."
"As a United States Senator from California, Kamala represents the biggest state in the union. She's been one of the toughest and most effective Senators on two of the most important committees in the Senate -- Intelligence and Judiciary. Two committees that have directly dealt with some of the most important issues facing this nation at home and around the world," the Biden statement, released on Tuesday, said.
"She sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, where she deals with the nation's most sensitive threats."
"We've all watched her hold the Trump administration accountable for its corruption, stand up to a Justice Department that's run amok, and be a powerful voice against their extreme nominations," Biden said.
"She's been a leader on criminal justice and marriage equality. And she has focused like a laser on the racial disparities as a result of the coronavirus."
"As California's Attorney General, she led one of the biggest legal departments in the nation -- where she was a powerful advocate for people in taking on the big banks and protecting women and kids from abuse. She's delivered billions in settlement money to consumers, taking on companies for fraud, pollution and abuse," the Biden statement said.
"I first met Kamala through my son Beau. They were both Attorneys General at the same time. He had enormous respect for her and her work. I thought a lot about that as I made this decision. There is no one's opinion I valued more than Beau's and I'm proud to have Kamala standing with me on this campaign."
"Her record of accomplishment -- fighting tooth and nail for what's right -- is why I'm choosing her. There is no door Kamala won't knock on, no stone she'll leave unturned, if it means making life better -- for the people," noted Biden.
"So join me today in welcoming Kamala Harris to our team."
"She will wake up every day -- like I will -- thinking about how to make life better for people. How to rebuild our country back better. How to make it more just. How to win the next fight in the battle for the soul of this nation," Biden said.
"Because that's what the Presidency -- and the Vice Presidency -- is. It's a duty to care: for you, for all of us. This will be the fight of our administration, and there's no better partner that I could have asked for."
The newly re-named Biden campaign website, now known as Biden-Harris says Harris started fighting for working families in the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, where she focused on prosecuting child sexual assault cases. From there, she became the first Black woman elected as San Francisco's District Attorney. In this position, she started a program to provide first-time drug offenders second chances with the opportunity to earn a high school degree and find a job.
Harris started fighting for working families in the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, where she focused on prosecuting child sexual assault cases, the Biden-Harris website said. From there, she became the first Black woman elected as San Francisco's District Attorney. In this position, she started a program to provide first-time drug offenders second chances with the opportunity to earn a high school degree and find a job.
In 2010, she became the first Black woman to be elected California Attorney General, overseeing the country's second largest Justice Department, behind only the U.S. Department of Justice. In this capacity, she managed a $735 million budget and oversaw more than 4,800 attorneys and other employees. As California Attorney General, Kamala fought for families and won a $20 billion settlement for California homeowners against big banks that were unfairly foreclosing on homes.
Harris is understood to have worked to protect Obamacare, helped win marriage equality for all, defended California's landmark climate change law and won a $1.1 billion settlement against a for-profit education company that scammed students and veterans. Kamala also fought for California communities and prosecuted transnational gangs who drove human trafficking, gun smuggling and drug rings.
Since being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016, she has introduced and co-sponsored legislation to help the middle class, increase the minimum wage to $15, reform cash bail, and defend the legal rights of refugees and immigrants, the Biden-Harris website says.
Harris serves on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that deals with the nation's most sensitive national security and international threats. She also serves on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee where she oversees the federal government's response to natural disasters and emergencies, including the Trump administration's response to COVID-19.
On the Senate Judiciary Committee, she has held Trump administration officials accountable and was a powerful voice against Trump's conservative judicial nominations, the campaign website says.
Harris graduated from Howard University, where she was in the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and earned a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law.
She has been married to her husband Doug for the past six years. She is the stepmother of two children, Ella and Cole who she says are her "endless source of love and pure joy."
The US presidential election will be held on November 3.