Who are Kamala Harris and Mike Pence?


Caroline Croft, Senior Editor

    Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence are both running for Vice President of the United States in the 2020 election. Knowing who these candidates are is pertinent as citizens all across the country are already turning in their ballots. 

     Both of Harris’ parents immigrated to the United States to pursue further education; her mother came from India and her father came from British Jamaica. Harris was born and raised in Oakland, California, and attended Howard University as well as the University of California, Hastings School of Law. She then became District Attorney of San Francisco where she prosecuted burglary, homicide, sexual assault, and robbery cases. 

     Harris does not believe in the death penalty, supports reentry programs for non-violent offenders, and as Attorney General of the State of California, attempted to combat truancy among children and young adults. She was elected as a California Senator in 2016 and was announced as Joe Biden’s Vice Presidential pick in August. 

     “I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden tweeted.

     Harris is running against current Vice President Mike Pence in the 2020 presidential election. Pence was born and raised in Columbus, Indiana. He graduated from Hanover College and received a law degree from Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law. He later ran for Congress on three separate occasions, eventually winning in 2000, becoming a member of the House of Representatives and serving from 2001 to 2013. He left Washington to become the 50th governor of Indiana from 2013 to 2017. His service as governor was cut short after he and President Donald Trump were elected Vice President and President of the United States in 2016. 

     Pence is an opponent of clean energy, gun control, and extensive funding of public education, favoring charter schools instead. In March 2016, Pence signed the Indiana Senate Bill 101 into law. The bill included specific wording that some people felt would allow for discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. After receiving declarations of disapproval from both Democrats and Republicans, Pence revised the law to prevent potential discrimination. 

     On October 7th, Harris and Pence participated in the first and only vice presidential debate of 2020. Harris’s presence on the stage was monumental in itself because if she is elected she will be both the first woman and first POC to serve as Vice President of the United States. The two VP picks took a relatively civil approach to the debate following the presidential candidates Biden and Trump’s chaotic debate that included insults, name-calling, and interruptions. 

     Pence focused on specific issues like the banning of fracking what effect it would have on the economy. 

     “More taxes, more regulation, banning fracking, abolishing fossil fuel, crushing American energy and economic surrender to China is a prescription for economic decline,” Pence said. “President Trump and I will keep America growing. The V-shaped recovery that’s underway right now will continue with four more years of President Donald Trump.”

     Just as Biden did in his debate against Trump, Harris looked in the camera to speak directly to the American people when talking about the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

     “I want to ask the American people: How calm were you when you were panicked about where you were going to get your next roll of toilet paper? How calm were you when your kids were sent home from school and you didn’t know when they could go back? How calm were you when your children couldn’t see your parents because you were afraid they could kill them?” Harris said. 

     This year’s presidential election looks different than most with mail-in and early voting being available for United States citizens to avoid large and in turn dangerous crowds during the pandemic. The country is in dire need of strong, smart leadership right now; the threat of COVID-19, the recent death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the economic crisis are all issues that call for significant political action in the 2020 election year.