Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., made history when it was confirmed that she would be former Vice President Joe Biden's running mate in his 2020 presidential bid. The announcement Tuesday makes her the first Black woman and the first Asian-American person on a major party's presidential ticket.
Here's a look back at her career, and her historic nomination:
Harris' early life
Harris was born in Oakland, California, to Shyamala Gopalan, a breast-cancer scientist who immigrated from India, and Donald Harris, a professor of economics who immigrated from Jamaica.
Harris attended Howard University as an undergraduate. Her nomination makes her the first graduate of a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) to run on a major party's presidential ticket.
Harris' time as a 'progressive prosecutor'
Harris is a lawyer, earning her law degree from the University of California-Hastings College of Law. She went on to serve as a prosecutor nearby in Alameda County, where her career in criminal justice reform began.
After her time in Alameda, Harris became the first female district attorney in San Francisco's history, and was reelected four years later.
In 2010, Harris became California's first female attorney general and was reelected by a wide margin in 2014.
Though Harris often characterizes her tenure as attorney general as "progressive prosecutor," her tough-on-crime approach was a subject of scrutiny during her presidential run.
Harris' critics point to her anti-truancy program, which was launched in 2008, as a strike on her record. It brought down truancy rates and got more kids in classrooms, but did so by threatening jail time for their parents.
As district attorney, Harris strongly indicted truancy, stating that “a child going without an education is tantamount to a crime” in an SFGATE op-ed in 2009.
Harris also received heat for fighting to release fewer prisoners, even after the Supreme Court ordered California to reduce its prison population by 33,000 in 2011, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Harris also instituted a number of progressive reforms as district attorney. They included “Back on Track,” a program intended to reduce recidivism by allowing first-time drug offenders to graduate high school and get jobs instead of facing prison time.
Harris also required that under California’s controversial “three strikes” law that the San Francisco district attorney’s office could only charge for a third strike if the felony was “serious or violent.”
As attorney general, Harris also introduced training on racial bias and procedural justice and made California’s Department of Justice the first statewide agency to require body cameras and launched a program tracking police killings for the public to use.
Harris in the Senate
Harris has served as the senator from California since 2017, becoming the second Black woman and the first South Asian-American senator in history.
In the Senate, she serves on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on the Budget, and the Committee on the Judiciary.
Harris' popularity began to rise in 2018 during Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court, often going viral for her questioning of Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual misconduct by California professor Christine Blasey Ford. Kavanaugh denied the allegations.
Kavanaugh testified before Congress about the alleged incident that Ford said happened when they were in high school. Harris gained national attention for grilling Kavanaugh after new details of a separate sexual misconduct allegation – that he had previously denied – came out.
Many of the 2020 Democratic candidates called for Kavanaugh to be impeached, including Harris.
"I sat through those hearings. Brett Kavanaugh lied to the U.S. Senate and most importantly to the American people," she wrote in a Tweet in 2018. "He was put on the Court through a sham process and his place on the Court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice."
Harris and Biden: Competitors to running mates
The announcement that Harris would be Biden's running mate comes a year after Harris and Biden shared some of the most contentious debates of the primary season.
During the first Democratic primary debate in June 2019, Harris had a viral exchange with Biden, where she called him out for opposing federally mandated busing to integrate schools while he was in Congress.
She also criticized controversial comments Biden made at a fundraiser earlier that month where he reminisced about his ability to form working relationships with segregationist lawmakers James O. Eastland and Herman Talmadge.
“It’s personal,” she said. “It was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country.”
In polling after that exchange, the California senator experienced a spike among voters and was vaulted into the top tier of candidates. However, her numbers began to dip after a couple of weeks. She dropped out of the Democratic presidential race in December.
Harris eventually endorsed Biden in March, saying that "he has served our country with dignity and we need him now more than ever. I will do everything in my power to help elect him the next President of the United States."