Harris flips script on Biden running mate talk

NASHUA – Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris arrived in Nashua one day after competitor Joe Biden, but the U.S. senator from California has no intention of trailing Biden once all the 2020 primary votes are counted.

“I think Joe Biden would be a great running mate. As vice president, he’s proven that he knows how to do the job,” Harris told The Telegraph and other members of the press after her Wednesday town hall-style event at Nashua’s Girls Inc.

Harris made this comment in response to a question about a recent Politico story, which contemplated Harris as Biden’s vice president. This is because national polls show Biden currently leads his closest rival — U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. — by 23.5 points. The same polling average shows Harris trailing Biden by more than 30 points.

“The only poll that matters is the poll on Election Day,” Harris proclaimed when asked about the polling gap.

Harris also critiqued Biden for his “yes” vote, while he was a member of the U.S. Senate from Delaware, on legislation officially known as the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. According to www.GovTrack.us, this legislation endeavored to fund 100,000 new police officers, $9.7 billion in funding for prisons and $6.1 billion in funding for prevention programs.

“That 1994 crime bill, it did contribute to mass incarceration in our country. It encouraged and was the first time that we had a federal three strikes law,” Harris said Wednesday. “It funded the building of more prisons in the states.

In The Hall

Before answering questions posed by the media, Harris responded to those offered by several audience members during the town hall-style event. Among those quizzing the senator were Nashua Alderwoman Shoshanna Kelly, who shared the stage with Harris.

“This is a moment in time that is requiring us each as individuals and collectively to look in the mirror and ask a question, that question being, ‘Who are we?’ I think part of the answer to that question is, ‘We are better than this,'” Harris said in reference to her strong disagreements with President Donald Trump.

Harris said conducting the event at Girls Inc., a local nonprofit with a mission to inspire girls to be strong, smart and bold, was quite appropriate.

“We grow up to be who we are because people have invested their time in us and they see our potential and they nurture and support and encourage us to do what we are now doing,” Harris said.

Harris said she believes anyone who is a leader today must be prepared to fight to restore the importance of truth and justice in the country.

“There’s a funny thing about truth. Speaking truth can often make people quite uncomfortable,” Harris said. “I believe this is a moment in time where we must, and leaders must, speak truth.”

Harris cited the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally at Charlottesville, Virginia, as well as the 2018 deadly shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, as examples that hate is growing in America.

“Racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia – these issues are real in our country,” Harris said. “They are born out of hate, hate which over the last couple of years, has received new fuel.”

Beyond this, Harris also spoke about economic issues.

“Let’s speak truth,” Harris said. “The economy of America is not working for working people,” Harris said. “… In America today, for almost half of the families in our country, they cannot handle a $400 unexpected expense.”

Harris said she wants to give families that are making less than $100,000 a year a federal tax credit worth up to $6,000 annually. She plans to pay for at least part of this by repealing Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

She also spoke on education reforms, as she discussed a plan to use federal money to raise the average teacher’s annual pay by $13,500.

“We all know there are two groups raising our children,” Harris said. “Parents, often with the assistance of grandparents and aunties and uncles, and our teachers. Yet, we are not paying them their value.”

“As president, I’m proposing to put in place what will be the first national and federal investment in closing the teacher pay gap,” Harris said.

Harris said she is fed up with school shootings and other tragedies involving firearms.

“There are supposed leaders in Washington, D.C., who have failed to have the courage to reject a false choice, which suggests you’re either at favor with the Second Amendment, or you want to take everyone’s guns away.”

“It’s not like on the subject, we’re waiting for some tragedy to prompt people to act. We’ve seen the worst of human tragedies,” Harris said. “What we are waiting for is the United States Congress to have the courage to act.”

Harris also said officials need to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegals. She said Trump uses immigrants as a “scapegoat, a boogeyman” with his core supporters to distract them from the lack of available higher-paying jobs.