KINGSTON, Jamaica–November 7th, 2020–They were celebrating in Jamaica yesterday as Kamala Harris, whose father Donald was born in Brown’s Town, St. Ann Parish, Jamaica prepared to assume the vice-presidency of the United States on January 20th, 2021.
Harris is the first woman and the first person ‘of color’ to assume that lofty position, but in her case it may be even more significant than usual, since the newly-elected president, Joe Biden at 77 years of age is the oldest man ever to be elected to the office, and there can be no guarantee that he will be able to serve the full four years of his term of office.
If he has to step down as President for health reasons any time during the next four years and three months, then Harris would automatically become the leader of the free world.
The US election is not quite over, as vote–counting continues in a handful of marginal states, but with national media declaring that the Biden/Harris ticket cannot now be beaten, and most Trump allies conceding the election, the Trump administration is essentially finished, and will serve out the last two and a half months in office, before handing over the reins of power on January 20th.
Naturally, Trump being Trump, has not yet conceded the election, but most experts think that he has little chance of having judges or the Supreme Court overturn the election, and the only question is whether he will leave with dignity, or have to be smoked out of the White House.
One of the first to congratulate the happy couple was Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica who tweeted thus:
(1/2) I extend congratulations to the President-elect and Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
America will have its first female Vice President in the person of Kamala Harris, and we are proud that she bears Jamaican heritage. pic.twitter.com/1Ovte7F2YP
— Andrew Holness (@AndrewHolnessJM) November 7, 2020
Born in Oakland, California, Harris graduated from Howard University and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She began her career in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, before being recruited to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and later the City Attorney of San Francisco’s office. In 2003, she was elected district attorney of San Francisco. She was elected Attorney General of California in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.
Harris defeated Loretta Sanchez in the 2016 Senate election to become the second African American woman and the first South Asian American to serve in the United States Senate.
As a senator, she has advocated for healthcare reform, legalization of cannabis, a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, the DREAM Act, a ban on assault weapons, and progressive tax reform.
Her father Donald Jasper Harris (born August 23, 1938) is a Jamaican-American economist and professor emeritus at Stanford University, known for applying post-Keynesian ideas to development economics.
Had a continuing engagement with work on economic analysis and policy for the economy of Jamaica, his native country. He served there, at various times, as economic policy consultant to the Government of Jamaica and as economic adviser to successive Prime Ministers.
Born August 23, 1938 in Brown’s Town, St. Ann Parish, Jamaica as the son of Beryl Christie (Finnegan, through her second husband) and Oscar Joseph Harris, Harris is of Afro-Jamaican heritage.
Donald is known for having taken issue with Kamala on the marijuana issue, after Kamala had, apparently as a joke, mentioned that she had certainly tried cannabis and inhaled, as would be expected given her Jamaican heritage.
Her father felt that this public remark unfairly stigmatized Jamaicans as a nation of potheads and some Jamaicans have said that they are automatically regarded as under suspicion of drug possession when entering the United States at various airports.
If Harris succeeds in having cannabis legalized throughout the United States, that stigma may become a moot point.