|U.S. Senator Kamala Harris
Union leaders praise Biden pick of Harris for running mate
From the Minneapolis Labor Review, August 21, 2020
By Mark Gruenberg,
PAI Staff Writer
WASHINGTON (PAI) — The people who know and have worked with U.S. Senator Kamala Harris uniformly lauded Joe Biden’s decision to pick the Californian as the 2020 Democratic vice presidential nominee. She’s the first Black and Asian-American woman on a major party ticket.
The AFL-CIO announced the labor federation’s endorsement of Biden for President May 26.
Biden announced his selection of Harris, who’s been a U.S. Senator for the last three years, on August 11. She has a 100 percent AFL-CIO voting record on working family issues.
Harris is a former California Attorney General and San Francisco prosecutor.
“Kamala Harris has spent her career tackling some of the most critical issues facing working families,” AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said in a statement.
“As California’s Attorney General, she held big banks accountable in the wake of the housing crisis, prosecuted employers for stealing our wages and advanced criminal justice reform,” Trumka said.
“As a senator, she has achieved a perfect AFL-CIO lifetime score, working to create a fairer process for forming a union and protecting our health care and retirement security,” Trumka added. “We look forward to electing her America’s next vice president.”
“As a former Californian, I know @SenKamalaHarris,” tweeted AFL-CIO executive vice president Tefere Gebre, a former union organizer and political director whose work led the drive to turn big and once deeply red Orange County, California, purple trending towards blue.
“One thing I know about her is she’s principled. Even under heavy fire, she doesn’t flinch from her beliefs and principles,” Gebre said.
Biden particularly cited Harris for her toughness, but also their closeness, something important to the former Vice President. The two grew close during her tenure as California Attorney General, when she became friends with Biden’s late son, Beau, who was then Delaware Attorney General.
“Joe Biden can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as President, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals. I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief,” Harris said in a tweet.
In his own tweets, Biden called Harris “a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants.”
“You make a lot of important decisions as President. But the first one is who you select to be your Vice President,” Biden e-mailed supporters. “I’ve decided Kamala Harris is the best person to help me take this fight to Donald Trump and Mike Pence and then to lead this nation starting in January 2021.”
“These aren’t normal times,” Biden added. “I need someone working alongside me who is smart, tough, and ready to lead. Kamala is that person.”
Harris made a national name for herself by aggressive Senate Judiciary Committee questioning of President Donald Trump’s first Attorney General nominee, former Senator Jeff Sessions, and Trump’s second Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh.
Since returning to the Senate full-time from her own 2020 presidential campaign, Harris has challenged Trump’s dismal performance on the coronavirus pandemic and taken the lead on criminal justice reform.
“This is a tremendous pick,” California Labor Federation spokesman Steve Smith said in a phone interview. “We’ve worked closely with her on a number of labor issues, and we’re also thrilled that” selection of Harris “reflects the diversity of California.” Harris is Black. Her parents were both immigrants, from Jamaica and India.
“Congratulations to California’s own @KamalaHarris on her historic selection as @JoeBiden’s VP!” the California Labor Federation tweeted. “We’ve been proud to work with her on some of the most pressing issues for workers in CA over the years and know she’ll make a great vice president. Can’t wait to take our country back!”