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In electing Kamala Harris -described by Barack Obama as “fearless“ -to the US Senate, voters tore down a colour barrier that had stood for as long as California statehood. Harris is the first Indian-American to make it to the upper house of American Congress. Born in Oakland, to an Indian mother and a Jamaican-American father, the 52-year-old is also the first black and Asian senator from California.
Her mother Shyamala Gopalan went to the US from Chennai in 1960 to study science, specifically endocrinology and complex mechanisms of cancer.
Harris is the sixth black individual to be elected to the senate, Obama being the fifth. She is also the second black woman in the nation's history to serve in the US senate. In 2003, she became the first woman elected as San Francisco's district attorney , and eight years later, took over as the first woman attorney general of California .
Considered a protege of Obama, Harris is expected to be a fierce advocate of India-US relationship. Her platform includes such issues as criminal justice and immigration reform, creating good-paying jobs, enacting family leave and equal pay policies, and tackling climate change.