'The Perfect Choice': Southland Democrats Praise Vice Presidential PickBy CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — On Tuesday night, former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted out a photo with California Sen. Kamala Harris accompanied by the caption, “Let’s go win this.”

The photo was tweeted after his campaign made history earlier that day by naming Harris the vice presidential pick. She is the third woman and first Black woman who is also of Asian and Indian descent to be on a major party’s presidential ticket.

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Harris tweeted moments after the news broke, writing “I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President.”

Harris was considered a front-runner when she launched her own bid for the Democratic nomination and went after Biden during a primary debate last summer over busing.

“You also worked with them to oppose busing,” she said during that debate. “And, you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me.”

On Twitter, Biden called Harris “a fearless fighter for the little guy,” adding that Harris worked closely with his son, Beau, when she was attorney general of California.

Former President Barack Obama also tweeted his approval, writing: “This is a good day for our country.”

On Tuesday night, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was the national co-chair of the campaign’s vice presidential selection committee, said everyone involved in the process was proud of Biden’s choice.

“I know a very difficult decision for the vice president, but at the end to see a Californian, to see a friend, to see somebody who will make history not just once, not just twice, but three times to me fills me with a lot of hope for this country,” he said. “And to see a Californian on the ticket for the first time in almost 40 years is, I think, a good thing for the Golden State.”

And Garcetti was not the only local official speaking out in favor of the pick with Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn celebrating the decision on social media.

But critics said Harris’s record as a former prosecutor and California Attorney General could be an issue, even though she has been vocal about her support for police reform as a senator.

“As a prosecutor, in a way, she’s in a great position, and in a way she’s in a very difficult position, because we have a nationwide push towards reforming the criminal justice system,” Jessica Levinson, Loyola Law School professor and political analyst, said. “And she was of course part of that system in a different era.”

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And it’s an issue that local Democrats are also grappling with. Dr. Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles said the senator’s initiative to track police killings has been groundbreaking, but also pointed to missteps in her history as a prosecutor.

“For us, especially as Black Lives Matter, we would have liked to see an aggressive stance on the prosecution of police,” Abdullah said. “And, you know, instead many times it seemed like she kind of backed away.”

And while some L.A. progressives said they would have preferred Karen Bass, they still believe that the choice goes beyond a symbolic win of representation.

“Simply because if we’re not speaking our own, singing our own songs, nobody’s singing it for us,” Nourbese Flint, Black Women’s Democratic Club membership secretary, said. “I would love to have and be in a space where Black women are seen and heard and talked to when we’re not in the room, but that’s just not the reality.”

Biden had promised earlier in his campaign to pick a female running mate and put together a list of 13 candidates his campaign vetted before making the decision.

President Donald Trump Tuesday attacked Biden’s choice during his daily coronavirus briefing, calling the senator “nasty.”

But the fight ahead is one that L.A.-area Democrats said they are sure Harris can win.

“This is the woman that, you know, has been in leadership,” Emiliana Guereca, Women’s March Action Los Angeles executive director, said. “This is the first Black woman that has been chosen as VP. She also comes from California, and the attacks that were coming at her, she just took it on and really showed leadership.”

As for Harris’s senate seat if she and Biden were to win, Newsom would be tasked with appointing someone to finish her term — which ends in 2023.

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Biden and Harris are scheduled to appear together Wednesday at an event in Wilmington, Delaware.