Kamala Harris, once Karen Bass’ rival for vice presidency, offers support in mayor’s race
Kamala Harris, once Karen Bass’ competitor for the vice presidency, is stepping into the race for New York City mayor.
Harris, who was a former San Francisco district attorney before taking over the district attorney’s Office, will appear Friday at a rally and a forum about her plans for the city.
Harris, 53, is a liberal Democrat who is best known for taking on California’s Proposition 8, which barred same-sex marriage in California in 2008. She served as a prosecutor on both the criminal and civil side of the law, and then she was elected district attorney, becoming the youngest district attorney in the country, at 23.
In her tenure as district attorney, Harris has been a vocal advocate of police reform. But she has also pushed back against the use of stop and frisk policies, which critics of the program and civil liberties advocates have said violate the constitutional rights of people of color.
Harris on Friday announced three policy proposals: that New Yorkers get the first chance at housing in the city’s planned major downtown redevelopment with a promise that she would not turn it into a “garbage disposal” district; that the city provide health insurance for its poorest residents to close the city’s budget gap; and that the city’s school board be able to hire a lawyer for any member who needs it.
Harris has pledged to reduce the city’s reliance on cash bonds and instead turn to tax increment financing, which would generate revenue through property taxes and user fees. She also pledged to be a champion of LGBTQ rights and push for a citywide ban on conversion therapy.
This time, there is greater concern about her standing as a progressive, woman of color, and her ability to win.
While there has been no indication that Harris will run for vice president, she did not rule out the possibility. When asked at a recent forum about the possibility of a run, she had a different answer: “Never say never.”
But Harris’ decision to enter the mayor’s race could open up the possibility of challenging Mayor Bill de Blasio’s reelection bid in 2020. Her decision in no small part came with the same message: The mayoral race is a choice between bad