Pat Harris is an unapologetic progressive Democrat running for U.S. Senate in 2018 from the State of California. Pat is running as a Democrat because he believes that the progressive movement can change the direction of the party, resurrecting a Democratic Party that fights for the working class and isn’t influenced by corporate donations i.e. ‘Dark Money.’
Pat believes in modernizing the party to emphasize single-payer healthcare and the transition to 100% renewables—all while working to pass meaningful criminal justice reform, provide more affordable housing, and offer tuition-free higher education and vocational training to its citizens. In addition, he wants to provide a path to citizenship for immigrants, work to give students relief from student loan debt and push for increased funding for scientific research.
Why he’s running
Pat was drawn to the race after recognizing a once in a generation opportunity for progressives to rise up and assume leadership, rejecting career politicians of both parties who have stopped listening to constituents and are only focused on their own re-election. He believes that by bringing all voices to the table and by putting forward a true progressive platform, TOGETHER, we can realize the vast promises of our hardworking and technologically advanced state. As the saying goes, everything starts in California and works its way across the country. California should be the epicenter of the progressive movement – that is why he is running for office.
Pat will not accept corporate donations. He believes that politicians are being bought and paid for through dark money and that it is threatening the very foundation of our democracy. Pat will immediately push for a constitutional amendment that will limit the ability of corporations and PACs to fund political candidates.
Pat grew up in a small farming town in Arkansas. His father was an industrial engineer at a local shoe factory, and had three side jobs at night: bagging groceries, clerking at Wal-Mart and refereeing local football games to make ends meet. His mother was an 8th Grade History teacher who was very involved in local politics, attending the 1984 Democratic Convention as a Gary Hart delegate. From his father and mother, Pat learned the importance of listening, hard work, and empathy – all values that he intends to bring in his service to the people of California.
Pat graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in history with honors. In his senior year, he was awarded the J. William Fulbright award as the outstanding history student for the college and was selected to the Phi Beta Kappa honorary society. He was also a Rhodes Scholar state finalist. In 1993, he graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
For the past 23 years, Pat has practiced law, as a public defender and later as a criminal defense attorney in California. Over the past few years, his practice has shifted from criminal defense to an emphasis on civil rights cases. Pat has deep concerns about the direction and the fairness of the criminal justice system, something he wrote about in the book “Mistrial: An Inside Look at How the Criminal Justice System Works…and Sometimes Doesn’t.” Pat also co-authored “The Woman Who Wouldn’t Talk,” which spent several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. The book is account of Susan McDougal’s experiences surrounding the Whitewater Investigation.
Pat lives in Los Angeles with his wife Carol Welsman, a world-class Canadian jazz singer and pianist who is fluent in Spanish, French, Italian, and English. In his free time, Pat is an admitted sports fanatic. Before going to law school he even briefly worked for the Texas Rangers baseball team, although his favorite sport is actually college football. Pat has lived in California for over 22 years and would be honored to serve a state that he views as so visionary – a state that he believes will lead the nation to a future where we don’t live in fear but rather where we take a bold, innovative path forward.