What you need to know about the first woman of color nominated for vice president: Kamala Harris.

Presumptive Vice President nominee Kamala Harris speaking at a town hall at Iowa State on Oct. 6.

Sen. Kamala Harris made history as the first Black woman and first Asian American person to be named as the vice presidential candidate on a major ticket.

There have now been three women named for vice president including Democrat Geraldine Ferraro and Republican Sarah Palin.

Daughter of Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer researcher, and Donald J. Harris, a professor emeritus of economics at Stanford University, Harris was born in Oakland, California. Both of her parents immigrated to the U.S., her mother from India and her father from Jamaica.

Harris was raised in Berkeley, California. During her early education, she was used as part of school desegregation efforts. Growing up she attended both a Black Baptist church and a Hindu temple.

Harris’ mother knew the challenges Harris and her sister would face being a Black woman in America.

“When I was upset about something my mother would look me in the eye and ask me ‘So what are you going to do about it’ that’s why when I saw a broken justice system, I became a lawyer, to try to fix it,” Harris said, according to the vice president announcement video.

The Iowa State Daily contacted the Biden campaign for comment, but has not yet received a response.

Harris began her political career as a district attorney for Alameda County and went on to be the city attorney of San Francisco’s office. In 2003, she was elected to the 27th district attorney of San Francisco.

In 2010, Harris won the attorney general of California and was reelected in 2014. In 2016, she defeated Loretta Sanchez for Senate election, becoming California’s third female U.S. senator. During her time as a senator, she has supported single-payer health care, the DREAM Act, a ban on assault weapons and progressive tax reform. 

Harris ran for the Democratic nomination of president of the United States for the 2020 election and had been one of the highest-profiled candidates. The campaign ended Dec. 3, 2019, due to a lack of funding.

Mack Shelley, political science department chair, said for this election, vice presidential candidates are chosen for different reasons, such as balancing out the ticket and to help win key states. 

Shelley said there are few circumstances in which a vice president has an impact on the election results, but it is not common.

Harris comes from California, a state that traditionally voted strongly blue. Biden is at 67 percent, according to a poll from 270towin from Aug. 4. Shelley said the views of Californians greatly differ from the views of rural areas.

President of the Iowa State College Democrats and senior in biological systems engineering, Sehba Faheem, said it is wonderful to see a woman of color chosen for vice president but the announcement had been teased for too long.

“I don’t want to discredit it at all, to have a Black woman as our vice president, but I think all the fanfare was not really needed,” Faheem said. “To me, it seemed a little bit like Joe Biden was meant to be the bachelor and it just kept going and everybody was like ‘Who is Joe Biden going to give the final rose to?’ and we don’t need all of this, we are just picking a vice president.”

The Iowa State Daily reached out to the Iowa State College Republicans for comment, but has not yet received a response.

It is expected Harris will face a level of scrutiny while running because she is from the West Coast, a woman and she is a woman of color.

“It has already happened, it is guaranteed that there is going to be a tax on Harris precisely because she is a female, she is of color and from the [West] Coast,” Shelley said. “She is made out to be a radical with Biden even though it is kind of hard to paint him as an extreme leftist.”

Biden has been depicted by Trump and others as being too old to run for office due to his mental health. Shelley said it’s because of this Harris will be utilized to smooth any bumps through the campaign.

Harris will debate Vice President Mike Pence on Oct. 7 in Salt Lake City. While Harris represents liberal California, Pence comes from Indiana, a more traditionally conservative-leaning state. 

Although these two have very different platforms, Shelley said vice presidents typically have very little say and are not supposed to deviate from the president. 

“For the vice president to work on a ticket, voters have to have the sense that they are not complete opposites,” Shelley said. “They need to have a sense that there is something sort of solid about whoever is running for vice president, whoever that person is they can’t be in the position of contradicting the person at the head of the ticket.”

Even though Harris has previously attacked Biden for his stance on busing, Faheem said she wasn’t surprised by the choice of Harris because it seemed as if Harris and Biden knew each other the most.

“I know that Kamala Harris and Joe Biden did have a relationship, she was one of the first people to support him when it was just him and Bernie Sanders even though she called him out on busing, I felt like that was part of their relationship,” Faheem said. “It was a moment where he respected her more and they were able to grow closer because of the conversation that happened.”