#WCW: Senator Kamala Harris

The fabulous, brilliant, persistent, Senator from the great state of California is this week’s Woman Crush Wednesday.

A lifelong public safety and civil rights leader, U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris was the first African-American and first woman to serve as Attorney General of California and the second African-American woman to be elected to the United States Senate in history.

Throughout her career as a prosecutor, Harris was a tireless advocate for the most voiceless and vulnerable Californians.

As California’s Attorney General, Harris prosecuted transnational gangs exploiting women and children and trafficking in guns and drugs and led comprehensive studies on the impacts of transnational criminal organizations and human trafficking in California.

Harris fought for Californians hit hardest during the state and national mortgage crisis, won $20 billion for homeowners, created a multidivisional Mortgage Fraud Strike Force to crack down on fraud and passed the “Homeowners Bill of Rights,” establishing the nation’s most comprehensive anti-foreclosure protections.

Harris has worked intensively to protect children and students.   She established California’s Bureau of Children’s Justice and fought to reduce elementary school truancy so that every California child can exercise his or her constitutional right to an education.  As Attorney General, Harris successfully sued predatory for-profit colleges scamming students and veterans.

Harris aggressively defended the rights of consumers.  She won major settlements for consumers, forged innovative agreements with the technology industry to improve privacy protections and cracked down on piracy and online crime.  Harris also fought to protect California’s environment, prosecuted polluters, helped win marriage equality for all Californians and defended the Affordable Care Act.

Throughout her career, Harris has been a leading advocate for innovation and reform in the criminal justice system.  Harris worked to increase the adoption of technology and data-driven policing to assist law enforcement in the efficient investigation and prosecution of crime, established the first Office of Recidivism Reduction and Reentry and pioneered the nation’s first open data initiative to expose racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

Harris served two terms as District Attorney of San Francisco. Defeating a two-term incumbent, she was first elected DA in 2003, and was overwhelmingly elected to a second term in November 2007.

Harris began her career in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, where she specialized in prosecuting child sexual assault cases. In 1998, she joined the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, where she led the Career Criminal Unit. She also served as the head of the San Francisco City Attorney’s Division on Children and Families.

Born in Oakland, California, Harris is a graduate of Howard University, America’s oldest historically black university. She received her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She is married to Doug Emhoff and is the author of the book Smart on Crime: A Career Prosecutor’s Plan to Make Us Safer. From her official website.

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