First Woman Attorney General Elected in California
San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris claimed her victory on Tuesday in the November 2 race for California State Attorney General. She is not only the first woman to be elected to this position in California, but also the first Indian American and African American. Harris defeated her opponent, Republican Steve Cooley, by a narrow margin, one percentage point, in what was considered an important win for environmentalists, health care reform advocates, same-sex marriage proponents, and medical marijuana supporters. Harris will be sworn in on January 3, 2011.
Her victory is a win for feminists. Raised by a staunch feminist mother, as district attorney, Harris co-sponsored a law making human trafficking illegal in California and fought to strengthen services for victims of domestic violence. Her tough stance on enforcing California's environmental regulations have made her popular with environmentalists, as well.
Katherine Spillar, Feminist Majority Foundation Executive Vice President clarified, "Feminists have a long track record of working with Kamala. She is a courageous, committed, hard-fighting feminist, who I believe will make history."
She has also been a long-time defender of marriage equality and declared in her acceptance speech that she "will not defend Prop 8," the law banning same-sex marriage in California. The current Attorney General, Jerry Brown (D), now the governor-elect, also took the position that he refused to defend Proposition 8 in court.
Geoff Kors, Director of Equality California, stated, "Harris has long championed full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Californians, and we are extremely fortunate to have a true friend in the attorney general's office working to make California a state where everyone is treated equally under the law."
Media Resources: San Francisco Chronicle 11/25/10; California Statewide General Election Results 11/2/10; Kamala Harris For Attorney General 11/2/10; Equality California 11/24/10; Feminist Majority Foundation 12/2/10