Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) yesterday revealed her decision to run for president in 2020, becoming the fourth female lawmaker to seek the Democratic nomination.
A member of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Harris, 54, made her official announcement Jan. 21 during an interview with ABC. She has served in the upper chamber since 2017, and previously served as California’s attorney general from 2011 to 2017. She has sat on the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management and the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management.
The California Democrat has made cybersecurity issues one of her primary focuses while in the Senate. This past December, she sponsored the Public-Private Cybersecurity Cooperation Act, which directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a policy for individuals and entities to report security vulnerabilities on its public websites; develops a process for mitigating reported security vulnerabilities; consults with other federal departments and nongovernmental security researchers to develop the policy; and submits the policy and the remediation process to Congress and make it publicly available.
Harris voted against the Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018, which passed the homeland security committee by voice vote in June 2018 (Defense Daily, June 13 2018). She cited privacy concerns for her vote, but added during the markup that she applauded “the spirit behind the bill.” The bill became law this past October.
She has been critical of expanding the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and co-signed a Jan. 29 letter from 16 Democratic senators to President Trump saying the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review would undermine decades of U.S. leadership on the issue and called for continued movement and support for eventual nuclear disarmament (Defense Daily, Feb. 2 2018).
Harris cosponsored the 2017 Secure Elections Act along with her fellow homeland security committee member Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) that proposed new guidelines for cyber threat information-sharing between the Departments of State and of Homeland Security, established an advisory panel to oversee election security guidelines, and created a grant program to upgrade voting infrastructure (Defense Daily, Dec. 21 2017). That effort has stalled multiple times in the Senate.
In the 116th Congress she has also been elected to the Senate Budget and Judiciary Committees, as well as the Select Committee on Intelligence. She has received nearly $20,700 in campaign funds from defense contractors since she ran for Senate in 2016, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Responsive Politics.
Democratic Senate Armed Services Committee members Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) have also announced their plans to run for president in 2020, as has House Armed Services Committee member Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).