Harris Outlines Vision As Attorney General Winner

LOS ANGELES (KCBS / AP / BCN) — California’s newly elected attorney general named a high-profile transition team on Tuesday and promised to use the office to pursue a reform agenda on environmental, prison and consumer-protection issues.

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris will become the first woman and first minority to hold California’s top law enforcement position.

On Tuesday, she held her first news conference since her Republican opponent, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, conceded the race last week.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

“I am humbled by your support and determined to affirm your trust,” Harris said. “As your attorney general, I am going to work each and every day to make sure the law of the state of California is on the side of the people.”

Harris announced the appointments of former Secretaries of State Warren Christopher and George Shultz to lead her transition team.

Harris won the closest of statewide races, beating Cooley by less than one percent. Harris decided to hold her first news conference on Cooley’s home turf, in L.A., to show she won’t favor the Bay Area in her new office.

Harris embraced her new leadership role as she prepared to take over from fellow Democrat Jerry Brown, the governor-elect. She promised she would build on Brown’s work in environmental enforcement.

In outlining her vision, Harris also said she would push to change the way the state punishes criminals, and pursue predators she said are victimizing people who have lost their jobs.

As the U.S. Supreme Court considers ordering California to release thousands of inmates to ease prison overcrowding, Harris said she would work to reduce what is the worst recidivism – or repeat offender – rate in the country.

“We have to fix the system, and it cannot just be by reacting,” said Harris. “That’s part of the issue that we’re being presented with now, which is what to do to react to a crisis? We need to determine how to fix that crisis so we don’t face it again and again.”

Harris will be sworn in January 3rd.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc., The Associated Press and Bay City News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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