AG-elect Kamala Harris declares victory

LOS ANGELES Harris held her first news conference Tuesday since her Republican opponent, L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley, conceded. Harris is promising reform on several key issues.

Democratic San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris officially claimed victory as California's new attorney general Tuesday. It was a thin margin of victory: less than 1 percent.

Cooley conceded last week but Harris wanted to wait until all the votes were in.

"One does not have to run from their convictions when they choose to run for office," said Harris.

As she spoke, the attorney general's office was trying to stop a court-ordered inmate reduction that the state believes is too much, too soon.

Harris made prison reform one of her main campaign issues. She condemns the recidivism rate of 70 percent. It is the highest in the nation of inmates committing new crimes and returning to prison.

Would she represent the state in trying to block the court order to ease overcrowding?

"I have to actually read these documents. And until I read these documents, I'm not going to opine with any conviction, because I'm a lawyer, and I actually like to read briefs," said Harris.

Harris has said she opposes the pre-release of prisoners held by the state. She would not have fought the original order. She has condemned the system for failing and says it needs programs to keep inmates from returning to prison.

"The point that is being argued before the court illustrates it very well," said Harris. "It is foolish of us to think that we can continue doing business as we have been doing."

Just by her being the new attorney general, it won't be business as usual.

She has the bully pulpit as the attorney general-elect. As of January 3, she'll have both the power and responsibility to fulfill her campaign promises.

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