‘A historic moment’: Colorado Democratic women celebrate Biden’s pick of Harris for VP

If the two win in November, Harris will be the first woman to serve as vice president

By: - August 11, 2020 6:43 pm

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduces Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden at a campaign rally at Renaissance High School on March 9, 2020, in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Influential Democratic women in Colorado politics celebrated presidential candidate Joe Biden’s vice presidential selection of California Sen. Kamala Harris, which was announced Tuesday. If Biden wins the election in November, Harris will become the first woman to serve as vice president, as well as the first woman of color to serve in this role.

“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden tweeted on Tuesday.

Harris, who is Black and Indian, is a first-term Democratic California senator and formerly served as the state’s attorney general and a district attorney in San Francisco.

“This is a historic moment,” said Colorado state Rep. Leslie Herod, a Denver Democrat and chairwoman of Colorado’s Black Democratic Legislative Caucus. “People are starting to listen to Black people and Black voices and the things that we have talked about — racism, injustice, discrimination — things that we’ve experienced for generations. People are finally beginning to acknowledge it and believe it, and try to do better.”

“I think this is a winning ticket,” Herod added. “And I think it shows the democratic nature of wanting to really bring this country together.” 

Biden and Harris are expected to make a formal announcement on Wednesday in Wilmington, Delaware.

“This is an exciting announcement for the Biden campaign and for Democratic women across the country,” Michal Rosenoer, executive director of Emerge Colorado, said in a statement. Emerge works to help Democratic women who want to run for office.

There has been heightened focus on Biden’s VP pick because of his age. If he were to win, he would be 78 years old upon being sworn into office in January 2021.

Colorado state Rep. Janet Buckner, an Aurora Democrat, and her daughter, Joy Buckner, pose for a picture with California state Sen. Kamala Harris on August 2, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Janet Buckner)

“It’s about time for a Black woman to be on the presidential ticket,” said Colorado state Rep. Janet Buckner, an Aurora Democrat and the speaker pro tempore. “She’s a brilliant prosecutor and experienced congresswoman.”

In March, Biden said he planned to select a woman to serve as his running mate, and throughout his presidential campaign he received pressure from politicians, activists and voters to select a Black woman to engage younger and, potentially, more progressive members of the Democratic Party.

Herod said she’s glad that Biden stayed true to his word, especially as the country grapples with deep-seated systemic racism and police brutality.

“Kamala has come out and spoken about the protests and spoken about the injustices that Black folks face, and she has called for change, not just incremental change but real change,” Herod said. “And so having a vice president who stood up so strongly in support of us, who has been a part of this movement, makes a difference.”

Other potential VP picks included:

  • Susan Rice, former national security advisor under the Obama administration
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
  • Rep. Karen Bass of California
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan
  • Sen Tammy Duckworth of Illinois
  • Rep. Val Demings of Florida
  • Stacey Abrams, former candidate for Georgia governor

Now that the VP ticket is set, Herod and others are looking ahead to see who will be selected to serve in Biden’s Cabinet if he wins the presidential election.

“Black women don’t just need one spot. We need representation at all levels of government, business, education — everywhere,” Herod said. “And with Kamala being a part of the decision making process and Joe Biden showing that he does in fact stand with Black women, I think they can make that happen, too.”

This story will be updated.

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Moe Clark
Moe Clark

Reporter Moe Clark covers criminal justice, housing and homelessness, and other social issues for Colorado Newsline.