La Crosse area female leaders offer reaction to Kamala Harris winning vice presidency

Harris is the first woman and woman of color to hold the prestigious seat

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Kamala Harris is not only the first female Vice President-elect in the history of the United States. She’s also the first woman of color to ever hold the prestigious seat.

“Congressman John Lewis, before his passing, wrote, democracy is not a state,” Harris said during her victory speech Saturday. “It is an act.”

Harris’ victory speech hit home for local activist Kat Sletten and her daughter.

“She said ‘how has it taken, how is she the first one?,” Sletten said.” Like how has it taken this long?'”

2020 is also a milestone year for women’s rights.

“It’s timely in that we are celebrating women’s 100th anniversary to vote,” former WI 32nd District State Senator Jennifer Shilling said.

Shilling says she believes Harris’ experience as a California attorney general and senator will pay off for her.

“She has proven that she has the chops for this position,” Shilling said.

Sletten says she’s hoping Harris will do well in helping run the country.

“It’s one of those things where the direction of this country can never be put on one person,” Sletten said. “It has to be put on all of us making those changes, and letting people in power know what we want.”

Sletten has hosted several rallies in La Crosse addressing systemic racism, and she has a recommendation for Harris.

“I’m really hoping that we’ll see a great push from her in those circles,” Sletten said.

Shilling says Harris’ accomplishments will help pave the way for more women and girls in the future.

“It gives them that opportunity to dream big,” Shilling said.

Harris made a promise to the American people in her victory speech.

“But while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” Harris said.

Once Harris is inaugurated, she will be the highest-ranking female election official in the history of the U.S.

Only two other women in U.S. history have been nominated for Vice President — Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Sarah Palin and 2008.