Family is a common fixture along the campaign trail of many a political candidate, but few earn the aspirational moniker of being a candidate’s “Bobby Kennedy” as Maya Harris, younger sister of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris has among some political watchers.
According to a Politico profile, Harris — who serves as campaign chairwoman as well as chief adviser and political icebreaker for her big sis — is among that rarest of political relative: a supremely competent and experienced one more than well-qualified for the position she holds.
“Everyone is used to [politicians’] relatives that are doofuses,” Neera Tanden, head of the Center for American Progress, told Politico. “[But] [w]hen you have a relative that is competent and capable, what does that mean?”
It means, according to Politico, having someone on your team, like Maya Harris has been for her sister, who can be effectively involved in every aspect of a campaign.
As Politico notes of Harris:
A regular presence on the trail, Maya has been involved in virtually every facet of the race, from soliciting donors and recruiting the most diverse staff of any Democratic hopeful, to helping draft policy and talking up early-state politicos. …
Maya is often the first point of contact for her sister in early states, where officials and operatives said she frequently touches base to gauge the lay of the land.
Her sister’s campaign is not Maya Harris’ first time at the dance.
Maya Harris was an adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and would likely have served in a Clinton administration had she won the White House, Politico reports.
The Stanford-educated lawyer and progressive activist who became a mom at 17 also headed the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and helped edit manuscripts of Michelle Alexander’s best-selling The New Jim Crow about the need for criminal justice reform.
Of her sister, the presidential hopeful and U.S. senator representing the state of California told Politico:
“I think most people who know Maya will tell you she’s one of the smartest people they know. The fact that she has volunteered to work on this campaign at such a high level, and she’s exactly who she’s always been—she works around the clock and she’s probably the hardest, if not one of the hardest working people on the campaign—I feel very blessed.”