Washington Democrats were fulsome in their praise Tuesday for California senator — and newly announced vice presidential nominee — Kamala Harris, as former Vice President Joe Biden ended months of speculation in choosing Harris as his running mate.
State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski called Harris a “terrific” and “historic” choice.
Gov. Jay Inslee, who competed against both Biden and Harris in his own quest for the White House last year, called it an “excellent choice.”
“@KamalaHarris is a true fighter for environmental justice,” Inslee, who based his campaign on the need to fight climate change, wrote on Twitter. The Biden-Harris ticket “delivers a dynamic and courageous partnership to our country,” Inslee wrote.
Harris, 55, whose mother emigrated from India and whose father emigrated from Jamaica, is both the first Black woman and the first Asian American to be on a major party’s presidential ticket. She ran for president herself last year, but ended her campaign in December, before any voters had the chance to weigh in.
“It’s a historic pick,” Podlodowski said in a phone interview. “It’s incredibly well thought out and we’re just absolutely excited to see an African-American woman as the vice presidential pick.”
She said Harris is the “complete opposite of what’s been happening on the Trump side of the ticket.
“A really strong sense of values, a real strong sense of fighting for people, and I think she will complement Vice President Biden exceptionally well,” Podlodowski said. “And to have somebody from the West Coast, we always get excited about that.”
Harris is also the first Democrat from the West Coast to be on a presidential ticket.
“Kamala Harris is a strong voice for the future of our party and our country,” Sen. Maria Cantwell wrote on Twitter. “She’s a westerner who has taken on special interests and knows how to fight for families living paycheck to paycheck.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle, congratulated Harris on Twitter.
“From our Domestic Workers Bill of Rights to immigrant rights, I’ve been proud to partner with her,” Jayapal wrote. “Let’s get to work electing Biden-Harris!”
Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, likewise called Harris an “excellent pick.”
“This decision is a historic moment for the Democratic party and our country. We must elect leaders who represent the broad diversity of our communities, and who are committed to combating racial injustice,” Larsen said in a prepared statement. “So much is at stake this election year. The fight to expand access to quality health care, address the devastating effects of climate change and protect the right to vote all depend on defeating Donald Trump this fall.”
Karen Besserman, executive director of Emerge Washington, a group that helps Democratic women run for office, said their work is “highlighted and strengthened” by the Harris selection.
Besserman called the choice “a powerful signal to women that they can and should step up to lead through elected office and public service.”
Not all reactions were not favorable toward Harris.
State Republican Party Chairman Caleb Heimlich noted that Harris, in the Senate, co-sponsored legislation calling for a Green New Deal and for a “Medicare for All” health care system and cited her unsuccessful presidential campaign.
“Sen. Harris did not resonate in the Democratic primary because she was perceived as a political opportunist who would do and say anything to get elected,” Heimlich said in a phone interview. “This pick signals the Democratic Party’s leftward tilt and their movement to appease the far-left radical base.”