Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) formally launched her run for the Democratic presidential nomination Sunday with a full-fledged embrace of big government programs, including Medicare for All and universal pre-kindergarten education.
“I’m running to fight for an America where the economy works for working people,” Harris told a cheering crowd outside City Hall in her hometown of Oakland.
“I am running to declare, once and for all, that health care is a fundamental right, and to deliver that right with Medicare for All. To declare education is a fundamental right, and we will guarantee that right with universal pre-k and debt-free college.”
In a kickoff rally in front of City Hall in her hometown of Oakland, Harris slammed President Donald Trump’s planned border wall as “a medieval vanity project” and criticized the administration for its hardline immigration policy.
Harris cast the United States as being at “an inflection point in its history,” and claimed “the American Dream and our American democracy are under attack and on the line like never before.”
“America, we are better than this. People in power are trying to convince us that the villain in our American story is each other. But that is not our story. That is not who we are. That’s not our America. The United States of America is not about us against them. It’s about ‘We the People.'”
Harris, who was elected to the Senate in 2016, started her political career as a prosecutor in Oakland before becoming San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general.
“My whole life, I’ve only had one client: the people,” Harris said in an echo of her campaign slogan “For the People.” She also defended her record as a prosecutor, which has come under scrutiny from some progressives.
“‘For the People’ meant fighting for a more fair criminal justice system at the height of the war on drugs by creating a first-of-its-kind initiative to allow first-time offenders to get skills and job training instead of jail time — at a time when reentry and prevention and redemption were not in the vocabulary or mindset of most district attorneys,” said Harris, who added that American’s criminal justice system “needs massive reform.”
Harris is among the first major Democrats to jump into what is expected to be a crowded 2020 presidential contest. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York have announced exploratory committees.
Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney and Julian Castro, federal housing chief under President Barack Obama and a former San Antonio mayor, already are in the race.
Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Bernie Sanders of Vermont have signaled they may also run.
Following the rally, Harris plans to make her first trip to Iowa as a presidential candidate.
She traveled to the leadoff caucus state in the weeks before this past November’s midterm elections to campaign on behalf of Democrats.
She has also visited other early-voting states, including South Carolina this past Friday.
Fox News’ Patrick Ward and the Associated Press contributed to this Fox News report, which is used by permission.