WASHINGTON: Senator Kamala Harris, the daughter of a scientist from Chennai, announced on Monday that she is running for president in 2020. She is considered to be a frontrunner in the race.

Harris, a Democrat, is a first-term senator from California, America’s largest state. When Harris won in 2016, she made history as the first African-American woman and the first Indian-American woman to represent California in the Senate.

A University of California law graduate, she was San Francisco’s attorney general before her election to the US Senate.

Senator Harris was born on Oct 20, 1964, in Oakland, California, to a Tamil Indian mother and a Jamaican father. Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, was a breast cancer scientist who immigrated to the US from Chennai in 1960. Her father, Donald Harris, is a Stanford University economics professor who emigrated from Jamaica in 1961.

Harris is often compared to Barack Obama, a law graduate and a first-time senator before elected to the White House in 2008. Like Obama, she is also an accomplished speaker and is often invited by universities and think-tanks to speak on legal and political issues.

In November 2016, when Democrats regained their majority in the US House of Representatives after eight years, CNN declared that Senator Harris “is the new Democratic frontrunner” for the White House.

Harris announced her candidacy on the day America observes the Martin Luther King Jr Day to show respect to the slain civil rights leader. She plans to launch a formal campaign in Oakland on Jan 27.

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2019