Senator Harris visits NHIOP ahead of primary elections

Samantha Jette, Copy Editor

Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) visited the NHIOP on Feb. 19 to speak at a Politics & Eggs event. Harris announced her 2020 Democratic presidential campaign on Jan. 21.

Harris used this opportunity to dismiss rumors that she would not seriously fight in the New Hampshire primary, as it was her first visit to the state. “I plan on competing hard in New Hampshire,” said Harris immediately, “I plan on spending a lot of time in your beautiful state.”

In her remarks, Harris spoke extensively about the importance of truth: “The most important ingredient in trust [of a politician] is truth.” She noted that as the country proceeds into the election year, leaders must speak truth with the purpose of inspiring trust in the American people. “Let’s talk truth,” she said, as she discussed hot-button issues.

“The economy in the United States today is not working for working people,” she announced. She stated the fact that half of American families today cannot afford a $400 unexpected suspense, and such a cost would cause them to lose their footing. In terms of the American Dream, Harris said that not all people in the country have equal access to a path toward success. In order to correct these statistics, Harris proposes that the country change its tax code to support those struggling families.

Harris then discussed education, and praised America’s teachers. She spoke of teachers she knows who must work extra jobs because they pay out of pocket for tools for their classrooms. She mentioned her first grade teacher who attended her law school graduation to show the audience the extent to which many teachers care for their students.

“The people who are raising our children are our teachers,” she claimed.

She then moved to climate change: “It’s real and posing an existential threat to us as human beings…We must have a sense of urgency about this.”

Harris added, “I care about this issue not because I have a particular desire to hug a tree, but because I have a strong desire to hug a healthy baby.”

On her next point, Harris addressed the business leaders in the room. “Are we prepared to care for the workforce of the 21st century?” she asked.

She cited the increase in intelligent technology and the fact that 40% of the jobs that now exist for humans will soon be replaced by automations. She urged leaders to consider the upcoming generation of workers, and the jobs available for them.

Harris concluded her speech by encouraging the audience to continue to fight.  

“There are so many truths that we must speak right now. I remain very optimistic about who we are, what we are capable of, and where we will go,” Harris said.

Harris has held a seat in California’s Senate since 2017. Before her term as senator, she was California’s Attorney General from 2011 to 2017, and the District Attorney of San Francisco from 2004 to 2011. She is the second African American woman and the first South Asian American senator in the country’s history. Currently, Harris serves on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on the Judiciary, and the Committee on Budget.  

Prior to her visit at the NHIOP, Harris held a town hall event in Portsmouth on Feb. 18, the day before.

Before the speech, Executive Director of NHIOP, Neil Levesque, gave a brief introduction. In his opening remarks, Levesque recognized the large media presence in the room. He thanked the journalists.

“We do not honor journalists in this country as much as we should and I honor them today,” he said.

At the end of the event, Harris spoke to audience members and signed their iconic wooden eggs.

Politics & Eggs has been a NHIOP tradition since 1965. The events allow New Hampshire’s business leaders and politicians a chance to meet with major political candidates. It has become a necessary stop for all presidential candidates on their campaign trails. The events are produced by the NHIOP in collaboration with the New England Council.