By Gabriel Lerner
California Senator Kamala Harris should be the Democratic vice presidential candidate. An energetic and courageous leader, Harris deserves the support of the Latino community at this crucial moment in history.
Throughout U.S. history, the selection of a running mate by a presidential candidate has been a complex game of political chess, mixing personal elements with public affairs. The prevailing concern in choosing a running mate seems to be the absence of divisive or negative attributes, seconded by the importance of the community they represent, their popularity in their state, their status on the national stage and more.
This is what Joe Biden is facing these days. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is deciding who will be his best running mate to confront and beat Donald Trump on Nov. 3.
Biden’s commitment to having a woman on the ticket, specifically, an African American woman, already appears to impress and excite the electorate.
This is perhaps the single most important decision of his campaign.
Once in power, the new vice president has important executive and legislative functions, as well as being the first in the line of presidential succession. As vice president from 2009 until 2017, Biden himself is known for expanding the areas of interest and influence of a vice president more than his predecessors.
That is why in part, Biden’s electoral success will depend on the correct choice of a running mate. Because of this, I feel that the best option for a Democratic vice presidential candidate is Kamala Harris.
Although other candidates are respectable and have their own unique advantages, none has the sum of Harris’s attributes as a human being, a politician and a leader.
Harris has represented the most populous state in the country as senator since January 2017. Previously, she was state attorney general for six years and city attorney for San Francisco for the previous seven.
During these years, Harris has been an important ally of the Latino community. Some legislative actions that she proposed, either alone or with other legislators since she began as senator, directly benefit our community.
On immigration, Harris put forward a DACA plan that by executive order would provide Dreamers with expanded access to citizenship and protect the families of these youth on a case-by-case basis. Now that the current administration is attempting to dismantle DACA in defiance of a Supreme Court decision, her stance is especially important.
Harris proposed ensuring that the undocumented and refugees detained at the border receive legal assistance, and, early on, she denounced early on the policy of separation of families and detention of children in cages, demanding the resignation of then-Secretary of Homeland Security Kjrsten Nielsen for implementing this.
The senator proposed laws to monitor and modify ICE and Border Patrol immigration policies, including the DONE law that would reduce detention levels and the REUNITE law to transfer ICE funds to assist in reunifying separated families.
Regarding the pandemic, she proposed creating the Coronavirus Immigrant Families Protection Act to ensure that testing and treatment are offered to all communities regardless of immigration status. This is a vital measure, not only for immigrants but also for all Americans, as massive testing is key to stopping the expansion of Covid-19.
To mitigate the economic crisis that our community suffers, Harris proposed providing $125 billion to businesses with less than 10 employees, knowing that 90% of Latino businesses are in fact small businesses. In addition, she advanced the Vote Safe Act that funds absentee voting by mail, extends early voting by 20 days and makes it easier for voters for whom English is their second language.
She leads the effort for police reform, including a bill that would ban chokeholds, and the establishment of a unified standard to control the use of force by police.
She advanced laws in defense of domestic workers and farmworkers. And the list goes on, demonstrating the importance of naming Harris as the Democratic vice presidential nominee. Harris is an energetic and courageous leader and deserves the support of the entire Latino community.
Gabriel Lerner is the editor of the daily Spanish newspaper La Opinion, of Los Angeles.