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Kamla Harris wins Democratic nomination for attorney general

Last updated on: June 09, 2010 21:09 IST

Eminent Indian American activist Kamla Harris has won the Democratic Party nomination for California attorney general, giving her a chance to become the first woman to hold the office if she emerges victorious in the November race.

Harris handsomely defeated six other rivals including Facebook executive Chris Kelly, who had pumped in more than $12 million into the primary elections held on Tuesday.

Daughter of an Indian mother and African American father, Harris is currently the San Francisco Attorney General.

She faces Steve Cooley, the Los Angeles District Attorney General, in the November elections, to replace Democratic Jerry Brown, who is running for Governor.

If elected, Harris will be the first woman to hold the office of Attorney General in California.

"We have a lot of work to do before NovemberÂ… but we are clear of purpose, clear of mind. We believe in hard work, but we also believe that it can be fun work. Let's celebrate tonight," she said in her victory speech on Tuesday night.

In December 2003, Kamala Harris was elected as the first woman district attorney in San Francisco's history, and as the first African American woman and South Asian American woman in California to hold the office.

She was overwhelmingly reelected to a second term in November 2007.

Born and raised in the East Bay, Kamala is the daughter of Shyamala Gopalan, a Tamilian breast cancer specialist who traveled to the United States from Chennai, to pursue her graduate studies at UC Berkeley.

After attending public schools, her strong commitment to justice and public service led her to Howard University, America's oldest historically black university, and then to the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

Harris is the recipient of numerous awards.

California's largest legal newspaper, The Daily Journal, designated Harris as one of the top 75 women litigators in California -- the only elected official to receive that honour – as well as one of the top 100 lawyers in the state.

She was recognised as a 'Woman of Power' by the National Urban League and received the Thurgood Marshall Award from the National Black Prosecutors Association.

She has been featured on the Oprah Show and in Newsweek as one of "America's 20 Most Powerful Women".

She was selected as one of 24 elected leaders from throughout the country to serve as a Rodel Fellow with the Aspen Institute.

Additionally, Harris was elected to the board of directors of the California District Attorneys Association and is a vice president of the National District Attorney's Association.

Image: San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Devi Harris

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