California Sen. Kamala Harris held her first press conference as a Democratic candidate for president at her alma mater, Howard University in Washington, D.C. The event came after her announcement Monday morning that she is joining the Democratic primary race for president in 2020. 

 

"For all voter, we've got to reach out to folks. We've got to go where they are, understand who they are, listen as much as we talk, and that is certainly what I intend to do as a candidate," Harris said. "It is my full intention to travel this country, sit in living rooms, listen to families, express concerns about their needs and understand."

Harris is bypassing the formal exploratory stage and going all-in. Harris made it official Monday with a social media video that also introduced her campaign slogan: "For the people."

She is the third U.S. senator and the fourth woman to join the 2020 fray. Harris is also the first African-American candidate to enter the race, and her campaign rollout speaks to that significance: Her announcement comes on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and her campaign logo was inspired by Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to run for president nearly five decades ago.

"There are already and will continue to be great candidates," she said. "This is a robust signal of who we are as a democracy."

Harris's next event is in South Carolina on Jan. 25, at an event hosted by her sorority. She will host an official campaign kickoff rally in Oakland, California, on Jan. 27. Her campaign headquarters will be based in Baltimore, with a second location in Oakland.

At her campaign event at Howard University, Harris criticized President Trump for the government shutdown. "He is now holding the American people hostage over a vanity project that he calls a wall while 800,000 people are trying to figure out how they're going to pay their rent, how they're going to pay their mortgage," she said. "It is completely irresponsible. Those folks don't want a wall, they want a paycheck."