Kamala Harris has resigned her seat in the United States Senate with a view to becoming the first female vice president in two days.
“It has been an honor to be your senator,” Harris wrote in an open letter to Californians on Monday.
“And this is not a farewell. Today, as I resign from the Senate, I prepare to take the oath of office to preside over it, ”Harris said in an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle.
As vice president, Harris will provide the deciding vote in a Senate that will be equally divided between 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans.
The vice presidency is the only constitutional office in the US government that “belongs to both the executive branch and the legislative branch,” former Vice President Walter Mondale once said in a 2002 speech.
Harris’ unique role will make Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer the Senate Majority Leader and give Democrats control of the Senate agenda for the first time in six years.
“So, as I leave the US Senate, this is not a farewell. That’s hello, ”Harris wrote.
Harris is replaced by Alex Padilla, the California Secretary of State who was appointed by California Governor Gavin Newsom. Padilla will be California’s first Latino senator.
Harris was first elected to the Senate when Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016. In reviewing her accomplishments over the past four years, Harris took note of the turmoil the United States has experienced under Trump and expressed hope for a better future.
“The past four years have been tested as a nation,” Harris said, citing the Russian hack of the 2016 US election, Trump’s family separation policy on the southwest border, the backtracking of states -United on climate change, the California wildfires, the Black Lives Matter protests of racial injustice and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This month we witnessed something I thought I would never see in the United States: a mob raped the US Capitol, trying to thwart the certification of the 2020 election results,” she said. declared.
“These times have not been easy.”
Harris took note of several benchmarks of change and progress, including the Georgia election of two Democratic Senate candidates, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.
Warnock is only the 11th black person to be elected to the Senate in US history, and Ossoff is the first elected Jewish senator from the South since 1879.
“Change is possible. For that, I’m grateful and ready to get down to business, ”Harris said.
“So, as I leave the US Senate, this is not a farewell. Hello. “
Harris will be sworn in at Wednesday’s dedication ceremony by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina high court judge, according to an ABC News report.
To mark the historic moment, Harris will use a swearing-in Bible that belonged to late civil rights icon Thurgood Marshall, who was the first black person to become a Supreme Court justice.
“The fact that Kamala Harris is a black woman, or a woman of Indian descent, or a woman, automatically makes her different from any other vice-president this country has ever seen,” Leah Daughtry, former chief of staff of the Democratic National Committee, told the Associated Press news agency.