Sen. Kamala Harris formally launched her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in her hometown of Oakland, California on Sunday.
In her 35-minute speech, Harris announced her intention to work on major government programs such as “Medicare for All,” a universal pre-kindergarten education and the reversal of several Trump administration policies.
“I am running to declare, once and for all, that healthcare is a fundamental right, and to deliver that right with ‘Medicare for All.’ To declare education is a fundamental right, and we will guarantee that right with universal pre-K and debt-free college,” Harris addressed a 20,000-strong crowd.
Harris highlighted how Trump has divided America, which she described as being at “an inflection point” in history. She claimed that the American Dream and democracy “are under attack and on the line like never before.”
“We are here at this moment in time because we must answer a fundamental question. Who are we? Who are we as Americans? So, let’s answer that question to the world and each other, right here and right now. America, we are better than this.
“People in power are trying to convince us that the villain in our American story is each other. But that is not our story. That is not who we are. That’s not our America. You see, our United States of America is not about us versus them. It’s about ‘We, the People.’”
“On the subject of transnational gangs, let’s be perfectly clear. The president’s medieval vanity project is not going to stop them,” she said. “When we have children in cages, crying for their mothers and fathers, don’t you dare call that border security — that’s a human rights abuse. And that’s not our America.”
The 54-year-old senator also vowed to reverse Republican-passed tax cuts, which she described as a “giveaway” to the top 1%, according to Fox News.
“[This would be] the largest working and middle-class tax cut in a generation, up to $500 a month to help America’s families make ends meet.”
Harris spoke on a platform outside the City Hall, less than a mile away from Alameda County district attorney’s office, where she started her legal career as a prosecutor. Her slogan, “Kamala Harris, for the People,” echoes the introduction she used in court and serves as a phrase she calls her “compass,” according to Reuters.
“My whole life, I’ve only had one client: The People,” she said.
While her sharp questioning of Trump’s appointees in Senate hearings reportedly proved popular among liberals, Harris’s law enforcement background is seen as a risk in a Democratic Party that has shifted positions on various criminal justice issues, including support for Black Lives Matter, body cameras for police and abolishing the death penalty. Critics, who believe that she was too harsh on suspects, revived the hashtag #KamalaisaCop on Twitter.
“Our criminal justice system needs drastic repair. Let’s speak that truth,” Harris said about “too many” black and brown Americans being locked up. “I’m running to fight for an America where no mother or father has to teach their young son that people may stop him, arrest him, chase him or kill him because of his race.”
My mother was the greatest source of inspiration in my life. She taught me that I had a responsibility to fight for justice. pic.twitter.com/6hdOlziByF
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 26, 2019
Harris is among the first to enter what appears to be a crowded arena of Democrats vying to run against Trump, the most likely Republican nominee. When elected, she promises to be an honest public servant.
“Seek truth, speak truth and fight for the truth. If I have the honor of being your president, I will tell you this: I am not perfect. Lord knows, I am not perfect. But I will always speak with decency and moral clarity and treat all people with dignity and respect. I will lead with integrity. And I will tell the truth,” she said, according to the Washington Post.
Harris faces Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, South Bend (Indiana) Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former San Antonio (Texas) Mayor Julian Castro in the Democratic primaries, to name a few.
Watch the full campaign lunch below:
Featured Images via YouTube / Kamala Harris