Pat Harris Biography
Pat Harris is an unapologetic progressive running for US Senate from the State of California in the 2018 election against incumbent, Dianne Feinstein.
Pat entered this race because he strongly believes that it is time for fresh leadership representing all people of California, not just the 1%. He believes it is time to reform the Democratic party back to what it used to be – a party that represents the voiceless – the working men and women of America. To achieve that, he believes it’s time for a truly progressive leader who is ready to not only fight the Trump agenda but can set a strong vision for California to act as a blueprint for the rest of the country.
To achieve this, Pat firmly believes the first order of business is to get corporate money out of politics. He supports overturning Citizens United and will fight to ensure that our elections and politicians can no longer be bought by PAC’s or big lobbying groups like the NRA, Big Pharma or Big Oil.
His vision for America includes passing legislation that will provide Medicare for All, tuition-free college, real immigration reform, criminal justice reform and a transition to a green economy run on 100% renewables. He believes in addressing California’s most pressing issues through building more affordable housing to address homelessness, providing student debt relief, improving public education, upgrading our crumbling infrastructure with increased public works spending, implementing paid parental leave for all working men and women, and supporting common-sense gun safety legislation.
Pat recognizes a once-in-a-generation opportunity for progressives to rise up and lead a real political revolution in this country. He believes that by bringing all voices to the table and by putting forward a truly progressive agenda, we can realize the dreams of a vast majority of Californians.
Pat grew up in a middle class family in a small farming community in Arkansas. His father was an industrial engineer at the local shoe factory and his mother was an 8th grade history teacher. From his parents, Pat learned the deep importance of listening, hard work, and empathy. Pat’s mother, a powerful influence in his life, sparked his deep connection to politics, having him go door-to-door to pass out candidate cards during electoral races when he was a teenager and reminding him that WE are our brother’s and sister’s keepers.
Pat graduated from the University of Arkansas where he was awarded the J. William Fulbright Award as the outstanding history student. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was a Rhodes Scholar finalist in the state of Arkansas. In 1993, he graduated with a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
For the past 23 years, Pat has practiced law, first in Tennessee as a public defender, later working in private practice as a criminal defense attorney, and most recently as a civil rights attorney. Pat believes as a nation dedicated to the rule of law, everyone deserves the right to a fair trial and that our very freedom is built on the foundation of the justice system – something that Pat writes about extensively in his book, Mistrial: An Inside Look at How the Criminal Justice System Works…and Sometimes Doesn’t. Pat is also the co-author of The Woman Who Wouldn’t Talk, the New York Times Bestseller account of Susan McDougal’s experiences surrounding the Whitewater Investigation.
Throughout his career, Pat has taken on some of the most powerful corporations in the country including Pfizer, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and a number of large insurance companies. He has never backed down from fighting the establishment and has a proven-track record of winning difficult battles, including taking on the Catholic Church over the abuse of children. Much of his civil rights work was spent representing Hispanic, Black and Armenian minority communities against cases involving excessive force, wrongful death, and false imprisonment involving law enforcement.
Pat lives in Los Angeles with his wife Carol, a Canadian jazz singer and pianist. Together, they have two dogs, Lucy and Boomer, and spend time working as ardent animal rights activists. In his free time, Pat is an absolute sports fanatic, having worked for the Texas Rangers Baseball Team; his favorite sport is College Football. Pat has lived in California for over 20 years and would be honored to serve a state that he views as so visionary and loves so deeply.