In conversation with The 19th for her first interview since her vice presidential appointment, Kamala Harris discussed the interview process with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, widespread voting suppression, women being a priority for the Biden-Harris campaign, and her hope for more female representation on the Senate floor.
Read on for a rundown of the biggest takeaways from her interview.
1 | “Joe Biden had the audacity to choose a Black woman to be his running mate.”
Harris called the interview process to becoming the vice presidential nominee “a really wonderful conversation,” in which she and Biden discussed their shared values and experiences. From both of them believing in the importance of supporting working people to preserving the integrity of the Affordable Care Act, Harris says, “It really is about being grounded in values that are a combination of hope, vision, faith, commitment, and hard work. It was an incredible conversation that we have continued to have.” She also added that her final interview with him was sometime before the historic announcement, though she didn’t disclose exactly when.
Harris also praised the former vice president for selecting her as his running mate.
“Joe Biden had the audacity to choose a Black woman to be his running mate. How incredible is that? And what a statement that is about Joe Biden,” she said. “That he decided he was going to do that thing that was about breaking one of the most substantial barriers that has existed in our country—and he made that decision with whatever risk that brings.”
If Biden is elected in the November election, Harris will become the first woman and woman of color to serve as the United States’s vice president.
2 | “Everybody has to remember this and ask this question of yourself. Why don’t they want us to vote?”
Speaking on the significance of the incoming election, in which the Biden-Harris ticket will face off against incumbent Donald Trump and Mike Pence, Harris said, “I fear that if we don’t correct course, the damage will be irreversible. Everything is on the line in this election.”
She added that state governments have implemented severe voting restrictions after the 2013 Supreme Court case of Shelby County v. Holder, which gutted protections under the Voting Rights Act. “Everybody has to remember this and ask this question of yourself. Why don’t they want us to vote?” said the California senator. “Why are they creating obstacles to us voting? Well, the answer is, when we vote, things change. When we vote, things get better. When we vote, we address the disparities.”
Kamala Harris Quotes to Know Before You Vote
3 | “In a Biden-Harris administration, women are going to be a priority.”
Harris also weighed in on what she called “the disproportionate weight that women carry on certain issues.”
Women, who are generally the primary caregivers to their children, parents, and family, deserve to have paid family leave and affordable childcare, she said. Assistance should also be given to seniors who want to continue living in their homes.
“In a Biden-Harris administration, women are going to be a priority, understanding that women have many priorities and all of them must be acknowledged,” she said.
4 | “We should encourage and always support women who are running for office.”
If Harris is elected into the White House come November, her California senatorial seat will be up for grabs. She says that she hopes that her open seat will continue to provide a platform for representation.
“This should not just be about California. This is a national issue,” she said. “How is it that when you look at the role of Black women in the history of building our country–much less in the history of even the most recent politics, much less historically–it is inexcusable that we would not have full representation in the United States Congress.”
She also encouraged Black women and women of color to run for office. “There are so many talented Black women and women of color period who are on that path,” she said. “We should encourage and always support women who are running for office, and support them knowing that, even if they are the first, that they are the one that is necessary for us to continue to break these barriers. I have not achieved any that I have have had without the support of many who believed in the possibility of someone who has never been there before.”
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