OPINION: Why I support Sen. Kamala Harris for president?

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A criminal justice forum slated Kamala Harris and nine other Democratic presidential candidates to speak, but Harris on Friday threatened to boycott the event after learning that the sponsor gave Trump an award. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Harlem State Senator Brian A. Benjamin is the latest of nine local officials from five states to release a statement endorsing Senator Kamala Harris’ bid to become the first Black woman to serve as President of the United States. 

These local leaders all agree that Harris is the best candidate to prosecute the case against Donald Trump and highlight her 3AM agenda focused on lifting up American families.

Below is State Senator Benjamin’s statement of support.

I’m backing Kamala Harris because she knows that real, meaningful criminal justice reform must be on the agenda for our next president. Right now, our justice system — with its private prisons, cash bail system, and failure to restore voting rights to individuals with felony convictions — does not align with our American values. These are the issues I have dedicated my career in public service to addressing, and I know that Kamala deeply understands them and has tackled them head-on in her career and in this campaign, which is why I am excited to support her for president.

Many of us in the Democratic Party underestimated the current United States President for far too long. The same level of disbelief we had when Trump won the Republican nomination and then the general election in 2016 continues to drive our thinking today.

We think all we have to do is to nominate someone with a pulse because America won’t re-elect Donald Trump. This way of thinking is a mistake. Now more than ever, we should support the candidate whom we believe has the best chance of beating Donald Trump. In my opinion, that candidate is Senator Kamala Harris.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is standing out amongst the field of 25 Democratic presidential candidates. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

​First, I think we need someone who can take the fight to Trump on the debate stage. Hundreds of millions of Americans will be watching the general election debates and they will have an outsized influence on voters’ perspectives.

Her years as a District Attorney and as an Attorney General have taught her how to make her case and she is masterful at it. Watching her in the Senate Judiciary hearings questioning Justice Brett Kavanaugh and then recently watching her on the debate stage during the Democratic Primary debate it is clear she excels in this forum and can deliver the punishing blows in these settings to shift the narrative. We need someone who can forcefully and efficiently make the case against Trump in a way that excites the base and at the same time does not alienate swing voters.

Second, by any calculation, her candidacy is historic. If elected, she would become the first woman and the first woman-of-color to become the President of the United States. Frankly, it is long past time for a woman to occupy the White House. This country has already shown us that it will vote for a woman as was shown in 2016 with Hillary Clinton’s popular vote tally.

Kamala Harris thegrio.com

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) takes a question during a town hall meeting at Canyon Springs High School on March 1, 2019 in North Las Vegas, Nevada.. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

As legendary Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm once said, “Tremendous amounts of talent are lost to our society just because that talent wears a skirt.”

It is time we end this form of gender discrimination in America’s most important political office. I have a 6-month-old daughter, Caroline and I want her to live in an America where she is judged by her character and capabilities and not her gender. Senator Harris’s candidacy helps to move us forward as a country in that way. There is no doubt in my mind that we will see historic voter turnout by women of color, particularly African-American women, which will not only impact the Presidential race but will also have real implications for down-ballot races

Third, we Democrats desperately need someone who can unite the progressive and moderate wings of the party. There is no doubt that the 2016 Democratic primary showed us that we have some disagreements about what our priorities should be as a party.

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Senator Kamala Harris speaks to her supporters during her presidential campaign launch rally in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. (Photo by Mason Trinca/Getty Images)

With the rise of Trump, there has been a significant amount of new activism in our party and that is a good thing. We need a candidate who has an inclusive message with a strong personal story and compelling policy proposals, who can appeal to the different factions within our party. We have to have every single Democrat on one accord working hard in 2020 to turn the page and bring sanity back to the White House in January 2021.

For these reasons, I will be working hard to help elect Senator Kamala Harris as the 46th President of the United States and I ask you to join me.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy, position, or political endorsement of theGrio.