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US elections 2020

Kamala Harris wins nod as Biden's vice presidential pick

Biden calls California senator a fighter for 'the little guy'

Kamala Harris is the first Black woman to compete on a major U.S. party’s presidential ticket   © Reuters

NEW YORK -- Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday announced that Kamala Harris will be his running mate, marking the first time a Black woman has been on the ticket of a major U.S. political party.

Biden called Harris, the daughter of an immigrant Indian mother and a Jamaican father, "a fearless fighter for the little guy" and "one of the country's finest public servants" in a tweet on Tuesday.

"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," Biden wrote in his tweet, referring to his deceased son who served as Delaware attorney general while she held the same post in California.

"I was proud then, and I'm proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign," Biden said. By picking Harris, the former vice president under Barack Obama followed through on his promise to choose a woman as his vice presidential candidate.

Harris, 55, a California senator, whose first name means "lotus" in Sanskrit, had previously focused her presidential bid on her readiness to take on President Donald Trump. A former fierce rival of Biden in the party primary, Harris became a staunch supporter of Biden after she ended her own presidential bid.

"America is desperate for a strong, competent, and honest leader who seizes the moment, takes responsibility, and does everything possible to solve the crises plaguing our country," Harris wrote in a tweet on Monday. "That's why we must elect Joe Biden on November 3rd."

Harris is a relative newcomer to national politics. She won a U.S. Senate seat in California in 2016 after serving as the state's attorney general for six years. Her decision to run for president in January created a swell of excitement among Asian Americans and the country's other minority groups.

Born in Oakland, California, Harris has won praise from activists for her stance on immigration, Nikkei reported. Last year, she sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security urging them not to revoke employment authorization for spouses of H1-B visa holders after Trump's administration announced it would cancel the program installed by Obama. H1-B visas are given to highly skilled foreign workers, most of whom are South Asian. She also been a vocal supporter of the so-called "Dreamers," immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

The NAACP civil rights group lauded the pick as a moment "long overdue."

"For far too long, we have undervalued Black women's political power and their role in shaping our culture, communities, and country," NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson wrote in a statement.

"Today's announcement of a Black woman, Sen. Kamala Harris, as the first vice-presidential candidate of a major political party, breaks down one of these barriers in historic proportions," the statement said. "That it comes at a time in which Black Americans face dueling threats from a global health crisis and ingrained racism is all the more powerful."

Obama heaped praise on Harris.

"I've known Senator @KamalaHarris for a long time," he tweeted. "She is more than prepared for the job. She's spent her career defending our Constitution and fighting for folks who need a fair shake. This is a good day for our country. Now let's go win this thing."

Biden and Harris are expected to address the public on Wednesday in Delaware, Biden's home state. The pair will formally accept their nominations next week at the Democratic National Convention.

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