Kamala Harris: Who is the woman who will become the first ever female vice president of the United States?

Video report by ITV News at Ten Presenter Tom Bradby

Kamala Harris has made history to become the first woman to become the Vice President of the United States of America.

On Wednesday, she will be sworn in alongside President-elect Joe Biden in a scaled down inauguration ceremony in Washington DC amid tight security, sealing her place in history and marking a new era after four turbulent Trump years.

Mr Biden nominated Ms Harris for the position back in August becoming the first black woman to compete on a major party's presidential ticket.

Ms Harris is seen as more left-wing than Mr Biden and has appealed to the more liberal wing of the Democratic party, but has also been subject to harsh criticism by her Republican rivals.

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But who is the California senator who will be replacing current Vice President Mike Pence?

Kamala Harris' early life

Ms Harris was born in 1964 in Oakland, California, to immigrant parents: an Indian-born mother and Jamaican-born father, but spent much of her formative years in Berkeley, California.

The 55-year-old was educated at Howard University, a historically black university in Washington, DC before earning a law degree at the University of California.

Harris standing alongside Biden speaking after the polls closed. Credit: AP

She began her legal career in the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, before being elected as San Francisco’s district attorney in 2003.

During her time in the role, she created a re-entry programme for low-level drug offenders and cracked down on student truancy.

In 2010, she was elected California’s attorney general, the first woman and black person to hold the job.

Kamala Harris' political career

The 55-year-old first-term senator is one of the Democrat's most prominent figures.

Harris launched her presidential campaign in early 2019 with the slogan “Kamala Harris For the People.” Credit: AP

She quickly became a top contender for the number two spot after her own White House campaign ended.

After being elected to the Senate in 2016, she quickly gained attention for her assertive questioning of President Trump's administration officials during congressional hearings.

She launched her presidential campaign in early 2019 with the slogan “Kamala Harris For the People" and became one of the highest-profile contenders in a crowded Democratic primary, attracting 20,000 people to her first campaign rally in Oakland.

Her strong debating style during the campaign won her plaudits and included a searing attack on Joe Biden.

But the early promise of her campaign eventually faded. Facing fundraising problems, she abruptly withdrew from the race in December 2019, two months before the first votes of the primary were cast.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris after a debate during the race to become the Democrat's candidate. Credit: AP

After being chosen as by Joe Biden to be his running mate she quickly became a core part of his campaign.

She fiercely defended him during the vice-presidential debate with Mike Pence saying: "The one thing we know about Joe, he puts it all out there. He is honest, he is forthright."

She has also been more outspoken on race than Mr Biden during the campaign, openly calling Mr Trump a racist in an interview with CBS.

What is her relationship with Joe Biden?

One standout moment of her presidential campaign came at the expense of her now running partner, Mr Biden.

During a debate, she said Mr Biden made “very hurtful” comments about his past work with segregationist senators and slammed his opposition to desegregation busing, as schools began to integrate in the 1970s following years of racial segregation in the States.

'Busing' was the practice of transporting students to schools, sometimes outside of a child's local area, in attempt make classrooms more diverse and undo years of racial segregation.

“There was a little girl in California who was a part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day,” she said. “And that little girl was me.”

At the time Mr Biden called her comments “a mischaracterisation of my position,” but their relationship has solidified over the course of the campaign.

Earlier this summer, Ms Harris said: “Joe has empathy, he has a proven track record of leadership and more than ever before we need a president of the United States who understands who the people are, sees them where they are, and has a genuine desire to help and knows how to fight to get us where we need to be.”

Kamala Harris from the viewpoint of her friends

Debbie Mesloh first met Ms Harris during her San Fransico District Attorney's Race and has worked with her for years.

She told ITV News Ms Harris was one of the most interesting, captivating and smart people she has ever met.

"You never forget the moment you meet her," Ms Mesloh added.

Ms Mesloh recalled a story Ms Harris told her when they were discussing women in politics.

She said: "She told me about her years growing up, about her mom Shyamala and her years going to India and she said the culture there they celebrate goddesses and she said whenever you're raised in a culture that celebrates goddesses you believe in women's leadership."

Hala Hijazi shares her birthday with the vice president-elect and has been working in San Fransico with Ms Harris since 1997.

She told ITV News Ms Harris was ready for the job ahead of her and she had "never met anyone with such intelligence, grit, determination and an ability to really inspire people".

She said: "She listened to people she knew and she didn't know and really made an effort to look them in the eye and see their dignity and let them know she will fight for them every step of the way."

Ms Hijazi teared up when she said: "Kamala is an average regular person from Oakland and that’s why people so happy. She’s our girl. Regardless of fabulous education. Now everyone believes they have a shot doing something like that."

Hala Hijazi with Kamal Harris and Barack Obama Credit: Hala Hijazi