The Attorneys General
Kamala Harris (D)
California Attorney General
On January 3, 2011, Kamala D. Harris was sworn in as California’s 32nd Attorney General.
In representing the interests of the people of California, Attorney General Harris is committed to fighting transnational gang crime, protecting consumers from mortgage fraud and other scams, and preserving the state’s natural resources.
As chief law enforcement officer for the state, Harris is also committed to reducing recidivism and reforming the state’s revolving door prison system.
Harris is the first woman, and the first African American and South Asian American, to hold the office of Attorney General in the history of California.
Born and raised in the East Bay, Harris is a daughter of Dr. Shyamala Harris, a breast cancer specialist who traveled to the United States from India to pursue her graduate studies at University of California Berkeley. After attending public schools, Attorney General Harris strong commitment to justice and public service led her to Howard University, America’s oldest historically black university.
Attorney General Harris has spent her entire professional life in the trenches as a courtroom prosecutor. After graduating from University of California, Hastings College of the Law, she took a position in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, where she specialized in prosecuting child sexual assault cases. As a Deputy District Attorney (1990-1998) she prosecuted homicide and robbery cases. She joined the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office as head of the Career Criminal Unit, and later headed up the San Francisco City Attorney’s Division on Families and Children.
Harris served two terms as District Attorney in San Francisco. First elected in 2003, she was overwhelmingly reelected to a second term in November 2007. As District Attorney, she expanded services to victims of crime and their families, created new prosecution divisions focused on child assault, public integrity and environmental crimes, and launched innovative recidivism reduction initiatives to prevent re-offending.
During her tenure, the San Francisco District Attorney Office’s overall felony conviction rate was at its highest point in 15 years. Under her leadership, the office doubled the number of serious and violent offenders sent to state prison, put more than 220 gang members behind bars, and convicted more than 1,200 domestic violence offenders.
To combat one of San Francisco’s biggest challenges, gun violence, she created a gun specialist team and implemented tough gun charging policies. The District Attorney’s office more than doubled its trial conviction rate for gun felonies to 90 percent.
Attorney General Harris is the recipient of numerous awards. The Daily Journal, California’s largest legal newspaper, designated Harris one of the top 100 lawyers in the state. She is also the only elected official to be named one of California’s top 75 women litigators by the paper. Harris was recognized as a “Woman of Power” by the National Urban League and received the Thurgood Marshall Award from the National Black Prosecutors Association.
She has been featured on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and in Newsweek magazine as one of “America’s 20 Most Powerful Women.” She was one of two dozen elected leaders from across the country selected to serve as a Rodel Fellow with the Aspen Institute. Harris was also elected to the Board of Directors of the California District Attorneys Association and is a Vice President of the National District Attorney’s Association.
Attorney General Harris is the author of Smart on Crime: A Career Prosecutor’s Plan to Make Us Safer (Chronicle Books, 2009).