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Indian-American Kamala Harris elected to Senate from California

California Attorney General Kamala Harris defeated Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez for the coveted US Senate seat once occupied by Barbara Boxer in the nation's most populous state.

India TV News Desk, Washington [ Updated: November 09, 2016 11:49 IST ]
File pic of California Attorney General Kamala Harris
File pic of California Attorney General Kamala Harris

California Attorney General Kamala Harris defeated Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez for the coveted US Senate seat once occupied by Barbara Boxer in the nation's most populous state.

The seat was filled for 24 years by Democrat Barbara Boxer. The race pitted Harris and Sanchez, both Democrats, against each other to succeed Boxer.

Harris is the first biracial woman in the Senate, while Sanchez would have been the first Latin woman had she won.

Also Harris, 52, becomes the first Indian woman elected to the Senate, and the second black woman. Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun was elected in 1992 and served one term. Harris, a lifelong prosecutor, is the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica.

"Winning of Kamala Harris is another feather on the cap for the Indian American community," Thomas Abraham, Chairman, Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, said. 

"Winning Senatorial seat combined with several congressional victories has made the community somewhat reach its goal of political involvement," Thomas Abraham added.

This will also help the US and India to come closer as a global partner in trade, investment, education, science and technology, military cooperation and fighting terrorism.

Senators are elected by the entire electorate in their states.

A victory is significant because California is the most populous state in the nation with 18 million (1.80 croe) voters.

Harris, who traces her family roots to Chennai, is a lawyer by profession and was twice elected Attorney General in 2010 and 2014.

Harris has a dual identity: She is also counted as an African American as her father is a Jamaican of African descent and she follows the Baptist faith.

She would become the second American woman of African descent elected to the Senate and she joins two other African Americans in the Senate.

After her parents divorced, Harris was raised by her mother Shyamals Gopalan, a cancer specialist from Chennai, giving her equal claim to Indian heritage.

She is married to fellow lawyer Douglas Emhoff.

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