In the weeks that followed the November presidential election, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris began to attract attention for declining to resign from her U.S. Senate seat.
Though her reasons for the delay were never fully explained, the apparent oversight was rectified this week with her decision to step down from the elected position in the legislative branch — two days before she was scheduled to be sworn in.
“The honor of serving”
According to Fox News, Harris’ resignation allows Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom to formally appoint her replacement.
Newsom has chosen Alex Padilla, who had been serving as the California secretary of state, to fill in for the rest of her term. In a two-sentence letter, Harris established the date and time at which her resignation would be effective.
“As I assume my duties as Vice President of the United States, I would like to thank the people of California for the honor of serving them in the U.S. Senate over the past four years,” Harris concluded.
On Wednesday, she is slated to make history as the first female vice president, as well as the first person of Black and South Asian heritage to fill the role.
Harris previously set historic firsts on the state level with her wins as attorney general and senator in 2010 and 2016, respectively.
“Thank you, California”
In contrast to her truncated resignation letter to the governor, Harris posted a lengthy message on Medium expressing her gratitude to Californians for giving her the opportunity to serve as an elected representative.
“Today, as I resign from the Senate, I am preparing to take an oath that would have me preside over it,” she declared in the post, titled “Thank You, California.”
In her role as vice president, she will also serve as president of a Senate that will be divided 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, giving her a potentially decisive tie-breaking vote on particularly divisive partisan issues.
“Since our nation’s founding, only 268 tie-breaking votes have been cast by a Vice President,” she explained. “I intend to work tirelessly as your Vice President, including, if necessary, fulfilling this Constitutional duty. At the same time, it is my hope that rather than come to the point of a tie, the Senate will instead find common ground and do the work of the American people.”
Padilla is set to be sworn in during a ceremony overseen by Harris on Wednesday, the same day as the two newly elected Democratic U.S. senators from Georgia, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.