Who Is Maya Harris? Kamala’s Principle Adviser

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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Vice President Kamala Harris is reportedly selective with who she takes advice from. But her sister, Maya, is one of her most trusted advisers, according to Axios.

“If somebody doesn’t knock it out of the park their first time, then they will always have a tough time,” a former aide said, according to Axios.

“Kamala and Maya are a trip,” Ben Jealous, a former NAACP president and a 2016 surrogate for Bernie Sanders, said. “They are a power couple of sisters unlike we have ever seen in U.S. politics,” he continued, according to Talking Points Memo.

During her presidential bid, Kamala allegedly struggled to get along with advisers as she was unable to decide whether she wanted to be more progressive or moderate, according to The New York Times (NYT). Maya, one of Kamala’s advisers, reportedly went “unchallenged” quite often, bothering some of Harris’ other advisers.

In one instance, Maya and other advisers reportedly fought over how to portray Kamala’s role as a prosecutor, which had come under fire, according to the NYT.

“One campaign strategist said it was impossible to tell if Maya Harris was speaking for herself, as an adviser, or as her sister’s representative,” the NYT wrote, noting Maya had a large influence on the logistical details of the campaign, including hiring.

“The uncertainty over who has the final signify has made it more difficult for the campaign to quickly execute decisions and Maya Harris’s dual roles as relative and adviser prompted the candidates’ staff to be more restrained about the advice they offer.”

Still, Maya and Kamala are exceptionally close, with Kamala once saying the pair “forged a bond that is unbreakable,” during their childhood, according to The Washington Post. (RELATED: Kamala Harris’ Sister Says A ‘Just Verdict’ Not The Same ‘As Justice’ After Chauvin Found Guilty On All Counts)

Maya, gave birth to her daughter Meena at the age of 17. Later on she attended Stanford Law School. While in school, she met her future husband Tony West.  West once served as the associate attorney general of the U.S. Senate and currently serves as the Chief Legal Officer for Uber.

Maya began working on Kamala’s campaign to be San Francisco’s district attorney. She worked with the American Civil Liberties Union as the executive director of the Northern California branch while previously serving as the group’s director of the Racial Justice Project.

Maya also served as the Vice President at the Ford Foundation and once served as the law school dean at Lincoln Law School of San Jose.

Maya gave up her MSNBC analyst position to volunteer on Kamala’s 2020 presidential bid.

“She’s invaluable,” Kamala once said, according to The Washington Post. “There’s no amount of money I can pay her, so I pay her no money.”

“I think most people who know Maya will tell you she’s one of the smartest people they know,” Kamala said of her younger sister in a Politico interview in 2019.

“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.”

Maya also served as a senior adviser for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 race.

“Hillary really trusted her instincts,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said in an interview with Talking Points Memo. “Maya would cut through the bullshit, brief her quickly, and give her something to think about.”