Like most politicians, Kamala Harris has made her compelling personal story a central part of her public image. That story—of a child born to immigrants in Oakland, who ascended to the upper echelon of California politics—started to reach a national audience in the run-up to the 2016 election, when she first won her seat in the Senate; since then, through her work in the Senate, the 2020 Democratic primary, and the general campaign, it spread even wider.
Now, with Harris set to make history as the country's first woman Vice President—and as the first Black and Indian-American person to hold the position—at the Inauguration on January 20, her story's worth revisiting. Here, how the Vice President-Elect worked her way up to national office.
Harris started her career as a prosecutor.
After earning an undergraduate degree Howard College and a law degree from University of California, Hastings, Harris was hired at the Alameda County district attorney's office. She later worked at the San Francisco district attorney's office, before running for—and winning—the San Francisco district attorney post herself.
From 2004 onwards, she's held elected office.
After serving as San Francisco's district attorney from 2004 through 2011, she became California's attorney general—a position she held until 2017, when she began her term in the Senate.
Her career as a prosecutor afforded her a comfortable six-figure income, according to the tax returns she's disclosed, which date back to her first term as San Fransicso's district attorney. (When Harris was running in the Democratic primary, she released 15 years' worth of tax returns.) Per the Washington Post, in the three years immediately prior to her 2014 marriage, she was making about $128,000 annually.
Her marriage to Douglas Emhoff changed her financial circumstances considerably.
Since Harris and Emhoff began filing joint taxes, following their 2014 marriage, the couple has reported over $1 million in income per year. Much of that comes from Emhoff's work as a partner at law firm DLA Piper, and at his previous firm, Venerable. In 2018, they reported an adjusted gross income of $1.89 million.
Fortune recently estimated Harris and Emhoff's net worth at $6.3 million, based on Harris's most recent Senate disclosure form, filed in May 2020.
Recently, Harris earned significant income from book writing.
At $157,352, Harris's salary as a Senator hasn't changed much from what she made as California's attorney general. However, she has been able to make additional income through book deals in recent years: in 2018, she made $320,125 from her memoir The Truths We Hold, and in 2o19, she earned $277,763 in book publishing advances, according to Fortune.
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