Kamala Harris in September Democratic candidates debate

On Crime: I've always wanted to protect people and keep them safe

Q: Your plan for people of color in the criminal justice reform does contradict some of your prior positions. You used to oppose outside investigations of police shootings; now you don't.

HARRIS: I made a decision to become a prosecutor for two reasons. One, I've always wanted to protect people and keep them safe. And second, I was born knowing about how this criminal justice system in America has worked in a way that has been informed by racial bias. And I could tell you extensively about the experiences I and my family members have personally had. I created one of the first in the nation requirements that a state law enforcement agency would have to wear cameras and keep them on full-time. Was I able to get enough done? Absolutely not. But my plan has been described by activists as being a bold and comprehensive plan that is about ending mass incarceration, about taking the profit out of the criminal justice system. I plan on shutting down for-profit prisons on day one.

Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston Sep 12, 2019

On Drugs: Opposed marijuana legalization, but currents have changed

Q: You used to oppose the legalization of marijuana; now you don't. You've said that you changed on this and other things because you were, "swimming against the current, and thankfully the currents have changed." But when you had the power, why didn't you try to effect change then?

HARRIS: I made a decision that, if I was going to have the ability to reform the system, I would try to do it from the inside. And so I took on the position that allowed me, without asking permission, to create one of the first in the nation initiatives that was a model and became a national model around people who were arrested for drugs and getting them jobs. I created one of the first in the nation trainings for a police officer on the issue of racial bias and the need to reform the system.

Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston Sep 12, 2019

On Education: $2T for HBCUs; they produce so many of our teachers

I want to talk in terms of HBCUs [Historically Black Colleges and Universities]. I have, as part of my proposal that we will put $2 trillion into investing in our HBCUs for teachers, because, one, as a proud graduate of a historically black college and university, I will say that it is our HBCUs that disproportionately produce teachers and those who serve in these may professions, but also, if a black child has a black teacher before the end of third grade, they're 13% more likely to go to college.

If that child has had two black teachers before the end of third grade, they're 32% more likely to go to college. So, when we talk about investing in our public education system, it is at the source of so much. When we fix it, that will fix so many other things. We must invest in the potential of our children and I strongly believe you can judge a society based on how it treats its children. And we are failing on this issue.

Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston Sep 12, 2019

On Environment: We turned brown skies to blue by taking on oil companies

When I think about [environmental] issues, it really is through the lens of my baby nieces. When I look at what is going to be the world if we do nothing, when they turn 20, I am really scared.

[Climate change] is a problem that was created by human behaviors. And we can change our behaviors in a way that saves our planet. I've seen it happen in California.

As the attorney general of California, I took on the big oil companies and we saw progress. If any of you have been to Los Angeles, 20 years ago, you'll remember, that sky was brown. You go there now, the sky is blue and you know why? Because leaders decided to lead and we took on these big fossil fuel companies.

We have some of the most important and strongest laws in the country and we made a difference. And my point being, I've done it before and I will lead as president on this issue because we have no time, the clock is ticking, but we need courage, and we need courageous leadership. We can get this done.

Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston Sep 12, 2019

On Free Trade: Export American products, not American jobs

Q: How would your trade policy differ from President Obama's?

HARRIS: My trade policy, under a Harris administration, is always going to be about saying, we need to export American products, not American jobs. And to do that, we have to have a meaningful trade policy. I am not a protectionist Democrat. Look, we need to sell our stuff. And that means we need to sell it to people overseas. That means we need trade policies that allow that to happen.

Q: What about China?

HARRIS: It's a complicated relationship. We have to hold China accountable. They steal our products, including our intellectual property. They dump substandard products into our economy. They need to be held accountable. We also need to partner with China on climate and the crisis that that presents. We need to partner with China on the issue of North Korea.

Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston Sep 12, 2019

On Gun Control: Trump didn't pull trigger, but he tweeted out the ammunition

The idea that we would wait for Congress, which has just done nothing to act [on gun control], is just overlooking the fact that every day in America, our babies are going to school to have drills where they are learning about how they have to hide in a closet or crouch in a corner if there is a mass shooter roaming the hallways of their school.

I was talking about this at one of my town halls, and-and this child who was eight years old came up to me--it was like it was a secret between the two of us, and he tugged on my jacket and he said, "I had to have one of those drills." It is traumatizing our children.

In El Paso [after a recent mass shooting] they said, "Well, do you think Trump is responsible for what happened?" And I said, "Well, look, I mean, obviously, he didn't pull the trigger, but he's certainly been tweeting out the ammunition."

Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston Sep 12, 2019

On Principles & Values: Commonalities unite us more than racism divides us

President Trump, you have used hate, intimidation, and fear. Here's what you don't get: the people are so much better than this. The vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us, regardless of our race, where we live, or the party with which we're registered to vote. And I plan on focusing on our common issues, our common hopes and desires, and in that way, unifying our country, winning this election, and turning the page for America.
Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston Sep 12, 2019

The above quotations are from ABC News and Univision Democratic candidates debate.
Click here for main summary page.
Click here for a profile of Kamala Harris.
Click here for Kamala Harris on all issues.
Kamala Harris on other issues:
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform
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Page last updated: Sep 16, 2019