Sen. Kamala Harris made history when she became the first woman, the first Black person and first Asian-American to be elected vice president of the United States.
The significance of Harris’ barrier-breaking triumph has been celebrated throughout the U.S., including Lodi, serving as a moment of affirmation, inspiration and transformation for women — and particularly women of color — around the country.
“I think it’s absolutely amazing. We have made history!” said Cheryl Francis, founder and president of Grace and Mercy Charitable Foundation. “I hope we can continue to progressively get better as a nation, as a country. Being an African-American female, I am elated. We all need role models and we need people to look up to.”
Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman, who is heading to the State Senate to fill the 5th District seat currently occupied by termed-out Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, is thrilled Harris is headed to the White House.
In January 2019, Eggman traveled to Oakland with her then 11-year-old daughter and friends and colleagues to attend Harris’ kickoff rally for her presidential run. While Harris failed to earn the Democratic nomination that eventually went to President-elect Joe Biden, she accepted the then-candidate’s invitation to join the ticket as his vice presidential candidate in August, setting in motion her historic achievement.
“I think it’s fantastic. I am very excited,” Eggman said. “To realize that a national stage — she would be on it. It was also exciting because I have a relationship with her.”
Eggman noted the two worked together when Harris was attorney general in California.
California will benefit by having someone who understands our area serving as vice president, she added.
But for now, Eggman is basking in a victory that many feel was long overdue. It is very gratifying as a woman — and affirming as an elected woman — that Harris has been able to break through the glass ceiling, she said.
“Forever, men have been filling up the space, and as we begin to make headway, there is clearly resistance. So for her to be able to break that ultimate glass ceiling just tells me we’ve taken another stop forward, and through the eyes of a 12-year-old young girl, that all things are possible,” Eggman said.
Newly elected Lodi City Councilman Mikey Hothi said the election of Harris as vice president is a significant accomplishment.
“Because she is the first woman to ever be elected, that is a glass-shattering event,” Hothi said, adding he hopes her election helps young women see that there is a path in politics, and it encourages more women to run for office and take leadership positions.
“Specifically for Lodi, on the council now we have zero women, and I think there is an important perspective that is going to be missing,” Hothi said. “I hope people see this victory and see that maybe this is something they should do here locally.”
Incumbent City Councilwoman JoAnne Mounce was unseated this election by Shakir Khan.
Francis said Harris can serve as a positive role model, especially for African-American girls, giving them hope that they too can accomplish something great.
“One never knows what tomorrow may bring, but I am always looking for positive changes to help our country,” Francis said. “I am hoping it will inspire more women to run locally.”