Kamala Harris says she is running for president

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, D-Calif., speaks to members of the media at her alma mater, Howard University, on Monday, following her announcement earlier in the morning that she will run for president.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kamala Harris, a first-term senator and former California attorney general known for her rigorous questioning of President Donald Trump's nominees, entered the Democratic presidential race on Monday. Harris would be the first woman to hold the presidency and the second African-American.

Harris, 54, who grew up in Oakland, California, is one of the earliest high-profile Democrats to join what is expected to be a crowded field. She made her long anticipated announcement on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"I am running for president of the United States," she said. "And I'm very excited about it."

She portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign as she announced her bid. "They're the values we as Americans cherish, and they're all on the line now," Harris says in the video. "The future of our country depends on you and millions of others lifting our voices to fight for our American values."

On ABC, she cited her years as a prosecutor in asserting: "My entire career has been focused on keeping people safe. It is probably one of the things that motivates me more than anything else."

Harris launched her presidential bid as the nation observes what would have been the 90th birthday of the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The timing was a clear signal that the California senator — who has joked that she had a "stroller's-eye view" of the civil rights movement because her parents wheeled her and her sister Maya to protests — sees herself as another leader in that fight.

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