kamala-harris

Senator-elect Kamala Harris, center, speaks with Long Beack Mayor Robert Garcia, left, and Angelica Salas of the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights of Los Angeles during a meeting with immigrant families and activists on Nov. 10. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Phil Willon
November 15, 2016

Newly elected U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris said she’s already been in contact with her West Coast colleagues about banding together to implement Democratic priorities in the political era of President-elect Donald Trump.

“I have talked with some of the West Coast senators and certainly we have an alignment of interests on a number of issues,” Harris told the Los Angeles Times in a telephone interview. “I’m looking forward to building those relationships.”

Harris, who won the Senate election last week, didn’t disclose the topics of any of those conversations, but did share her thoughts about working with the Republican Senate majority and what the Democrats must do to reconnect with working-class voters who backed Trump. Harris also said that she plans to continue serving as California attorney general until she is sworn into the Senate on Jan. 3.

During her Senate campaign, Harris also had several discussions with New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, who will be the new Democratic leader of the Senate. Schumer and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg held an East Coast fundraiser for Harris over the summer.

The two-term California attorney general believes Republicans and Democrats can come together on issues such as the drought and possibly even climate change.

Harris said that during the campaign she met plenty of conservative farmers and ranchers in the state who had seen firsthand the consequences of the changing climate, including the depleted water supply and altered growing seasons. She dismissed climate-change deniers as a “very vocal, small group.”

“Republicans and Democrats alike know we are experiencing this drought and also have an equal concern about more reliability about water,” Harris said.

Working with a Trump administration to address climate change and the drought may be a different issue. Before the election, Trump told the Miami Herald that he was “not a big believer in man-made climate change.” He also has called for ending Obama administration rules that cut carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants as well as scrapping constraints on oil, gas and coal production, and said he would “cancel” the United States’ participation in the historic Paris climate accord to reduce carbon emissions.

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