[Photo Source: California Attorney General Kamala Harris, D-Calif. (second from right), seen here with Joe Johal, Harris’s husband Douglas Emhoff, and Baljeet Johal (left to right), spoke to nearly 100 guests — including many Indian Americans — at the Johal home in Pleasanton, Calif., March 29 to drum up support for her campaign to become the state’s next U.S. senator. (photo provided)]

 India West

By: India West Staff

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Chief executive officer of Wendy’s of the Pacific Inc. Joe Johal, who operates multiple Wendy’s fast food restaurants, hosted a social gathering at his home forKamala Harris’ U.S. Senate campaign.

Harris, D-Calif., currently in her second term as the California attorney general, announced her intention to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer.

Johal kicked off the proceedings by thanking the dozens of Bay Area Indian American and other community members in attendance. Among those at the event included more than a dozen host committee members including Fremont Automotive Retailing Group Inc. president Inder Dosanjh, Fremont councilman Raj Salwan, JIB Management Inc. and Yadav Enterprises chief executive and president Anil Yadav, and B&W Foods Inc. and Guardian Home Health Care and Hospice Inc. CEO Asad Warraich, among others.

Congressman Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., representing the state’s 15th district and a resident of nearby Dublin, Calif., introduced his friend Harris to the gathering.

Swalwell urged the people to get behind Harris as she is the best fit to take over the U.S. Senate seat being vacated, he said.

Harris, 51, overlooking the crowd in the backyard of the Johals’ home, touched on a number of issues, including her experience and her vision for the state.

A graduate of Howard University and U.C. Berkeley Hastings College of the Law, earning her bachelor’s and juris doctorate degrees, Harris worked as a deputy district attorney in the Alameda County (Calif.) District Attorney’s office. She followed that by working in the Career Criminal Unit at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, where she prosecuted repeat offenders. While there, she also led the San Francisco City Attorney’s Division on children and families.

By 2003, she became the San Francisco District Attorney, becoming the first Indian American and South Asian to hold the position. Her goal was to be tough, but fair, and she believed she fulfilled that, she said. The goal, she said, was not to just win cases, but to provide justice.

After seven years, she decided in 2010 to run for the state’s attorney general seat. After winning the election, she has focused, and continues to do so while she campaigns for the U.S. Senate, on combating transnational gangs, working with Mexico to prevent gangs from bringing guns and drugs across our border, fighting human trafficking, safeguarding California’s many environmental protection laws from efforts to weaken them, and improving public safety by reducing recidivism.

Additionally, one of her primary focuses has been on reducing elementary school truancy, as well as preserving the state’s natural resources, increasing the adoption of technology and data-driven policing by law enforcement, and ensuring marriage equality for all Californians.

Harris spoke eloquently about her “Five E’s” as her platform: education, economy, environment, equality and engagement. The first two of her Five E’s were seemingly most important to her as she went in great detail of how the two can affect crime.

She believes there is a direct connection with habitual truancy in elementary school children and crime later in life. Additionally, Harris spoke on how working-class families who have to work two jobs to pay bills while putting children through school can be extremely challenging. An anecdote she referenced touched on a family that couldn’t take a day off from work to care for an ill child, forcing an older child to stay home from school to care for the younger kid just to make ends meet. Taking one child away from education could lead to a bad path down the line, she insinuated.

Harris engaged the crowd for a quarter of an hour before urging them to go to the ballots on June 7 for the primary and vote for her to become the next U.S. senator from California. Those in attendance followed with a rousing applause as the Senate hopeful exited, taking pictures with a number of the guests on her way out.

Harris, in the June 7 primary, will be facing Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, mathematician Akinyemi Agbede, small business owner Steve Stokes and Emory Rodgers.

This story was originally published on India West.