By: Heather Marcoux
The numbers are in, and so is Harris. California Sen. Kamala Harris will be the United States’ next Vice President.
This is huge news for little girls who never imagined they could hold such a high office, and it’s huge news for their mothers, too.
Harris has been pushing for change on several issues that matter so much to moms.
By choosing Harris as his VP, Joe Biden made history. Harris is the first Black and South Asian person to become the nation’s Vice President. America is growing up.
Here’s what you need to know about Kamala Harris:
1. She wants paid parental leave for all parents
When she was running for the Democratic nomination Harris put forth “Kamala’s Children’s Agenda,” a plan based on the idea that “every decision we make has a profound impact on our nation’s youngest, most vulnerable residents.” Part of that agenda is getting every working American to have access to six months of paid family and medical leave.
Like most Americans, Harris wants paid parental leave, now.
2. She has been fighting to address racial disparities in maternal health
Last May, Harris reintroduced the Maternal Care Access and Reducing Emergencies (CARE) Act to address the tragedy of maternal health care in America, specifically how much more dangerous it is for Black women to become mothers.
“The health status and the well-being of Black mothers should concern everyone,” she wrote on Twitter. “I re-introduced my Maternal CARE Act to ensure women are listened to in our health care system.” Black women are 3 to 4 times more likely than white women to die during or right after pregnancy than white mothers in the United States, and Harris has been fighting to keep these mothers alive.
3. She thinks teachers should be paid more
Harris turned heads last year when she suggested a plan that would boost teachers’ salaries by about $13,500 a year (paid for by ending tax loopholes for the country’s wealthiest citizens). “The people who are going to educate our children are our teachers, and for too long, they have been paid substandard wages,” Harris said in an interview with CBS News at the time. “The data is very clear, teachers are as compared to other college graduates, receiving 11 percent less in pay across the country.”
As teachers are now gearing up for a school year in which their health may be at risk the undervaluing of the profession has never been more keenly felt, something Harris is likely very aware of heading into election season.
4. She understands the childcare crunch
Teachers may have liked Harris’ support for higher wages but many did not like her plan for extending the school day, something she floated in 2019 as a way to ease the childcare crunch in the United States.
Harris’ legislation on the subject highlighted something parents often talk about: misaligned school and work schedules, which leave families to make fraught choices or lose out on earnings and cost the economy an estimated $55,000,000,000 in lost productivity annually.