Kamala Harris made history Tuesday, becoming the first black woman and Indian American to be sworn into Congress as a California senator. The former Attorney General in California and Howard University graduate was elected November 8, to replace Barbara Boxer, who sat in the seat for the last 24 years. Harris was born to a Jamaican father while her mother migrated from India, making her the second black woman and the first woman of South Asian heritage to serve in the Senate.
Today I was sworn-in to the U.S. Senate. I am humbled and honored to serve you and the people of California. Let’s get to work. pic.twitter.com/LRScLiYgsS
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 3, 2017
In addition to becoming California’s 45th U.S. senator, there is also speculation that Harris may run for vice president, or even challenge President-elect Donald Trump in 2020. However on Monday, she told The Orange County Register that rumors about her possibly running for the White House are a “distraction,” and that she is “entirely focused” on representing the Golden State, and its interests in Washington.
Nonetheless, Harris’ arrival in Washington, D.C. stands as a symbol of a new age Democratic leaders. The 52-year-old lawyer has also been called the “Democratic Party’s Great Blue Hope.”
Harris makes up the 115th Congress, which happens to be the most racially diverse congress in U.S. history; 49 of the lawmakers are African American—a jump from 46 two years ago—while 38 are Hispanic, and 15 Asian Americans will serve—up from 11 in the 114th Congress. Most of the legislators of color are Democrats.
Altogether, the 115th Congress is made up of 104 members, 19% of which are women, with a record number of 21 women serving on the Senate. Other women of color elected to the Senate include Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth (D) and Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D), the first Latina Senator in history.