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Politics

Kamala Harris’ new chief of staff is proud Black lesbian and trailblazing political heavyweight Karine Jean-Pierre

Patrick Kelleher August 12, 2020
Kamala Harris Karine Jean-Pierre

Karine Jean-Pierre and Kamala Harris (Miikka Skaffari/Getty)

Kamala Harris’ chief of staff has been named as Karine Jean-Pierre, a proud Black lesbian and political heavyweight.

Jean-Pierre is a Haitian-American political campaigner, activist and lecturer who has worked on presidential campaigns for John Edwards, Martin O’Malley and former US president Barack Obama.

The political powerhouse was announced as the chief of staff to the vice presidential candidate yesterday (August 11) just hours before it was announced that Harris was officially on the ticket. She becomes the first Black person to serve as chief of staff to a vice presidential candidate.

Confirming the news on Twitter, Jean-Pierre said she was “incredibly proud” to be working to elect Biden and Harris.

“Let’s go!” she added.

Kamala Harris’ chief of staff Karine Jean-Pierre is a powerful LGBT+ advocate.

Karine Jean-Pierre has long been a vocal advocate for LGBT+ rights and equality.

She is well-known as a political pundit thanks to appearances on NBC News and MSNBC.

Jean-Pierre served as national public affairs officer for progressive policy advocacy group MoveOn, and briefly went viral in June 2019 when, during a campaign event, she protected Kamala Harris from a stage invader.

In 2011 she spoke about her experiences working in politics as an openly gay woman.

Shortly after she left her position in the Obama administration, she told The Advocate: “What’s been wonderful is that I was not the only; I was one of many.

“President Obama didn’t hire LGBT staffers, he hired experienced individuals who happen to be LGBT.

“Serving and working for president Obama where you can be openly gay has been an amazing honour.

“It felt incredible to be a part of an administration that priorities LGBT issues,” she added.

My daughter is going to ask me, ‘What were you doing?’

Jean-Pierre shares a daughter, Soleil, with her partner, CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux. She has credited Soleil with keeping her in politics after the disappointment of Donald Trump’s 2016 election win.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do after Hilary lost,” she told Shondaland.

“At that time, my daughter was two and the only president she knew was Obama, she’s even met him a few times. But when she’s 12, or whenever she learns about the president and wonders how this man got elected, she’s going to ask me, ‘What were you doing at the time?’

“And I want her to know that I fought and worked for an organisation that mobilised hundreds and thousands of people to do calls to actions and to get involved. I want her to know that I didn’t say silent.”

Harris ‘honoured’ to join Biden’s ticket as the vice-presidential candidate.

Harris was confirmed as Biden’s running mate yesterday following months of speculation about who would round out the Democratic ticket.

The decision makes Harris the first Black woman and the first Asian-American to run on a major party’s presidential ticket, despite the fact that she and Biden were briefly fierce rivals for the Democratic nomination.

“I have the great honour to announce that I’ve picked Kamala Harris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden tweeted Tuesday (August 11).

He went on to note that Harris had worked closely with his late son, Beau, during her stint as California’s attorney general.

“I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse,” he continued.

“I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”

Harris tweeted: “Joe Biden can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals.

“I’m honoured to join him as our party’s nominee for vice president, and do what it takes to make him our commander-in-chief.”

The Human Rights Campaign was one of many groups to congratulate Harris, tweeting: “This fall, we have the opportunity to vote for the most historic, pro-equality ticket in history.”

 

More: Democratic, joe biden, kamala harris, Karine Jean-Pierre

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