5 Things to Know About Kamala Harris
Jan 20, 2019
Kamala Harris, California's junior senator, announced Monday she is running for president in the 2020 election.
Harris, 54, has been a rising star in the party since her arrival in Washington after the 2016 election, when she captured the seat held by retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer. So how high is your Harris IQ? Here are five things you might not know.
1. It's KAH-muh-luh, not kah-MAH-luh. For some reason even people who should know how to pronounce her name, don't.
Take Whoopi Goldberg, co-host of The View, a nationally syndicated TV show that surely has producers who confirm how to correctly pronounce a guest's name and then tell the host. But when Whoopi introduced Harris on on a recent episode, she somehow mispronounced both her first and last names.
Whoopi's first question: "Will you pronounce your name for me, please?"
The senator's answer: "It's like COMMA-luh. Just think comma and then add a luh." Note: She's probably more forgiving of mispronunciations when she's on The View than when, say, a Republican senator screws it up.
2. Harris is California's first black U.S. senator and the first Indian-American senator ever. Harris was born and raised in Oakland, and both of her parents were immigrants: Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, came to the U.S. from India to study endocrinology and nutrition. Her father, Donald Harris, was an economics scholar from Jamaica.
3. Harris really likes to be in the kitchen ("if you can't stand the heat..."). When she released her recipe for cornbread dressing just before Thanksgiving a few years ago, I was skeptical that it was anything more than just a PR stunt to make her look folksy.
But she told Harper's Bazaar in 2011, "I love to cook. I love to go to farmers markets and pick out whatever is seasonal. I love reading cookbooks, and I love feeding people."
And if her questioning of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh are any indication, Harris also enjoys grilling.
4. Harris married Los Angeles attorney Douglas Emhoff in 2014. Emhoff, who is Jewish, has two children from a previous marriage.
5. Harris is very close to Barack Obama, whom she endorsed early on in his quest to become president in 2008. In fact, they're so close that the president apparently felt comfortable saying that she "happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general in the country.” The president soon apologized. To be fair, Obama also said, "She is brilliant, and she is dedicated, and she is tough."
Harris' younger sister Maya, who is also an attorney, is married to Tony West, who worked in the U.S. Department of Justice in the Obama administration. He now works as a top corporate lawyer for the controversial ride-hailing company Uber.