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Kamala Harris Names Her Four All-Time Favorite Politicians. One Is a Beloved Republican.

By  Molly Prince
Kamala Harris participates in a interview and question-and-answer session with leaders from historically black colleges
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) revealed the list of her four favorite politicians of all time on Friday while appearing on Will Ferrell’s “Ron Burgundy Podcast.”

The Democratic presidential candidate was quick to name her top three favorites, which consisted of former Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-NY), who was the first black woman elected to Congress; former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy; and Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president.

“You know, one of the people I think is really great, who is still living but who has done really great work on an issue like climate change, for example, is Jerry Brown,” Harris said, seemingly placing the former California Governor as her number four pick.

“I mean, I didn’t agree with everything he did, but I do appreciate that he always, as a leader, had a vision of the future and tried to connect where we’re going to end up with where we are now,” she continued. “And thinking about solutions and ways to mitigate harm in the future.”

Harris acknowledged that as she often looks to these individuals for inspiration when she feels exhausted or overwhelmed by politics, especially while she has been campaigning for the Democratic nomination for the presidency.

“Someone I’ve been thinking a lot about, because I am running for president, is Shirley Chisholm,” Harris said. “I love the fact that she would just own that microphone and speak truth. And unburdened by what others might think of as the appropriateness of her being present and speaking as forcefully and as strongly as she did.”

Chisholm became the first black major-party candidate to run for president after she formally launched her campaign in 1972. Her campaign slogan at the time was “Unbought and unbossed,” which has been influential to the California senator.

“I take great inspiration from that [slogan] because she understood that she was a voice of truth and a voice that must be heard,” Harris said. “She just went to that microphone and took hold of it and didn’t ask permission.”

Harris has often expressed her admiration for the former New York congresswoman, especially during Black History Month and Women’s History Month.

“Shirley Chisholm created a path for me and so many others,” she tweeted in Feb. 2018. “She is one of the reasons I am serving the people of California in the U.S. Senate today.”

Days later, Harris penned an op-ed in Essence magazine where she called for more black women to follow in Chisholm’s footsteps and run for elected positions across the country, as well as urging for Congress to pass legislation that would place a statue of Chisholm inside the nation’s Capitol Building.

“Fifty years from now, I hope that statue stands among the other American icons we honor in the Capitol. I hope Black women crowd into the Senators-only elevator, giving every American equal voice and equal representation,” Harris wrote. “And I hope that all our nation’s leaders demonstrate the guts, grit, and grace that Shirley Chisholm taught us.”

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