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New Senator Kamala Harris Ready To Fight For California

WASHINGTON (KPIX 5) -- As California braces for the reality of a Trump administration, on Thursday KPIX 5 political reporter Melissa Caen spoke with new Senator Kamala Harris, who said she is ready to take up the fight.

Californians were stopping by the senator's office Thursday to take pictures and talk with her about the huge women's march happening in Washington D.C. on Saturday.

Since offices are assigned by seniority, the new senator was settling into a basement work location. Senator Harris said she is going to the inauguration not to honor Trump, but to honor a tradition.

"We have a history, a proud history, of peaceful transition of power and I think that has to be respected," explained Harris. "I absolutely respect the decision that people have made not to go and obviously, it is well within their right."

On Saturday, Harris will be among hundreds of thousands of women marching through the streets of Washington D.C. She's one of the few people selected to speak.

Over the past week, Harris has been busy grilling President-elect Trump's cabinet picks.

On Friday, the senate will vote on whether to confirm Trump's pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security, retired General John Kelly.

"I have a great deal of support for the Department of Homeland Security's mission and purpose -- to protect our homeland -- there could be no more important work and responsibility," said Harris.

Harris will be voting against confirming Kelly. Kelly won't promise to protect undocumented kids who were brought here with their parents.

Harris says California has more undocumented children than any other state and argues they should be allowed to stay.

"When he cannot guarantee me -- as I have asked -- that he will honor the promise that we as a country made to those kids, I can't support him," said Harris.

Kelly likely has the votes he needs to be confirmed, even without Harris' support.

When asked whether California politicians should keep thumbing their noses at Trump given the states need for federal dollars, Harris noted that she had just been discussing the issue with California mayors as the U.S. Conference of Mayors wrapped up a meeting.

"The mayors of San Francisco and Los Angeles and Michael Tubbs, the newly elected mayor of Stockton, and a bunch of our California mayors have been visiting with me today," said Harris. "We have talked about our concern that this administration may choose to punish California for supporting the idea that we're not going to deny essential services to anybody regardless of their immigration status. And we'll see what happens."

Harris hopes Trump's talk of cutting federal funds to sanctuary cities and states was just campaign hyperbole, but she is mindful of the possible scenario.

"We have to be braced for the fact that, when people say something, we have to hear them and believe them," said Harris.

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