Kamala Harris (D-CA) became the first African American to represent California in the United States Senate on January 3, 2017. Born in Oakland, California, Harris graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C., before returning to Calfornia to attend the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. After earning her juris doctor degree, Harris served as the deputy district attorney in Alameda County, California, before becoming the managing attorney in the San Francisco District Attorney's Office and then chief of the Division on Children and Families where she established California’s first Bureau of Children’s Justice. Harris was the first African American and first woman elected district attorney of San Francisco (2004-2011) and attorney general of California (2011-2016).
Born and raised in the East Bay, Harris is a daughter of Dr. Shyamala Harris, a breast cancer specialist who traveled to the United States from India to pursue her graduate studies at University of California Berkeley. After attending public schools, Attorney General Harris strong commitment to justice and public service led her to Howard University, America’s oldest historically black university.
Attorney General Harris has spent her entire professional life in the trenches as a courtroom prosecutor. After graduating from University of California, Hastings College of the Law, she took a position in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, where she specialized in prosecuting child sexual assault cases. As a Deputy District Attorney (1990-1998) she prosecuted homicide and robbery cases. She joined the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office as head of the Career Criminal Unit, and later headed up the San Francisco City Attorney’s Division on Families and Children.
Harris served two terms as District Attorney in San Francisco. First elected in 2003, she was overwhelmingly reelected to a second term in November 2007.