Where is Kamala? Residents Speak on Public’s Perceived Inaction of VP 

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris has been in office for the past 11 months but what has she done?  

That’s the question many throughout the nation have asked or thought of shortly after she made a historic step into the White House as the first woman to ever become vice president and the first person of Black and South Asian American descent entering into this role.  

Since being sworn in in January, after Harris’ revolutionary-earned win, has the hype died down many months later? Some think so. Harris came off the heels of election season with high goals for her impactful role with promises in developing policies and priorities for the Biden administration while sending a heavy message about what’s possible for other women and people of color.  

Some metro Detroiters delved into what they think of Harris, her work and if they stand by her (despite the unpopular opinions) in their unwavering support. 

Jacob Wynn, chairman of the Detroit-based Young Politician Committee, told the Michigan Chronicle that his organization, dedicated to supporting young Americans to pursue public office, said that it’s already a given that America’s current political system does not reflect ideals and interests of young Americans, so he created his organization that cultivates those voices as well as “galvanizing and empowering new leadership.”  

Despite Harris’ efforts nationally, Wynn, who is a conservative, doesn’t mince his words, and gave Harris a “D” for her work in the Biden-Harris administration.  

“She doesn’t know how to be an effective leader and she runs when there is turmoil,” he said. “This may be harsh to those who truly believe in her historic campaign of being the first woman vice president in America, which is amazing. However, looking at her time in office has been quite unsettling. … During her campaign she gained many of the Black Americans’ votes due to ethnicity. My question to those voters is what has she done for you lately?”  

Harris, who spent the lion’s share of her career as a prosecutor before getting elected to the Senate in 2016, also ran for the presidency before she was named Biden’s running mate in the summer. Since being elected, voters have looked to the duo to address racial and gender disparities in the policies they brought to the forefront of their campaigns. As of late, people have been wondering where is Harris? 

The Hill reported that since Harris took office, she has not held one formal press conference, while other publications reported that it’s by design that she is out of the spotlight as to not upstage President Joe Biden. Article after article has noted, however, how she has fallen short of her promises and stayed out of the limelight for the most part.  

The Boston Herald also reported that Biden and Harris have “dismal” re-election poll numbers with Biden at 22 percent and Harris at 12 percent in an I&I/TIPP poll. The Hill reported that vice presidential approval numbers haven’t been this low since early in the administration of Vice President Dan Quayle under George H.W. Bush.  

CNN reported in an article, “What the Heck is Going on With Kamala Harris?” that an unusual “high turnover rate” has been noted within her administration, too.  

One such staffer to leave is Symone Sanders, Harris’ chief spokesperson and senior advisor, set to leave the administration later this month, The National Newspapers Publisher’s Association (NNPA) wrote in an article.  

“I’m so grateful to the VP for her vote of confidence from the very beginning and the opportunity to see what can be unburdened by what has been,” Sanders wrote in a letter to Vice President Harris’ staff.  

In November, Ashley Etienne, who served as Vice President Harris’ communications director, also stepped down, according to NNPA. Prominent news reports hinted that major rifts have occurred between the White House and Vice President Harris’ staff, but officials have shot down these claims.  

Former Michigan State Representative Shanelle Jackson (with 19 years of public policy) told the Michigan Chronicle that despite all the naysayers and bad press that having a Black woman in politics in the room is still an indescribable opportunity.   

“It’s everything — we are a nation of laws and if we’re not in the room when policy is being discussed … our perspective is not in the room,” Jackson said. “Ultimately there are folks who don’t look like us and have not lived our experiences… who will impact our lives for generations to come.”  

Jackson added that she feels that Harris has done an “excellent job” during her tenure.  

“She is serving with class, with dignity,” Jackson said, adding that she met her once. “She [took extra care] to come and sit with me and talk to me about my future … because she saw another Black woman; to sow a seed of encouragement in my life. She leads with compassion and elegance.”  

She added that Black women “absolutely” have her back.  

“Black women have a desire to support her, and we want to be there,” she said, adding that Black women should be vocal about their support, too. “We got to be vigilant and … being her backbone with our dollars, social media and any platform we are given.”  

Sonjia Simpson-Gardner, a member of the Progressive Detroit Facebook group, told the Michigan Chronicle that she is “disappointed” at the comments that minorities are making about the administration.  

“We just experienced four years with Trump, and I feel he got away with murder — the things he did no one posted memes — not as much. Now all of a sudden, we get a minority in the office, and … they’re expecting the world from her.”  

Simpson-Gardner said typically much isn’t heard about vice presidents and the work they do, but now people are complaining because they feel that nothing has been done yet.  

“I will admit we have not seen a whole lot of the activity but not seeing activity doesn’t mean she’s not doing activity,” she said, adding that she is active behind the scenes. “She is doing the best she can do.”  

Simpson-Gardner, who is a fellow AKA with Harris, said that she feels the Black community (among those who support her) could be doing a “little more” to support her especially if she decides to run for re-election.  

“I think if she was to run again, she would have the backing of the Black community to support her,” she said.   


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