On Monday, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris resigned her seat as California’s junior senator, a position that made Harris only the second Black woman ever to serve in the U.S. Senate. 

On Wednesday, Harris will make history yet again, becoming the first Black, female, and person of South Asian descent to serve as vice president of the United States. 

What You Need To Know

  • Vice President-elect Kamala Harris formally resigned from her seat as California's Senator on Monday

  • Harris penned a thank-you address to her now-former constituents, saying it was "an honor" to serve in the position

  • Harris will be replaced in the Senate by Alex Padilla, California’s Secretary of State

  • Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in as president and vice president, respectively, on Wednesday

In an address to her now-former constituents in California, Harris said serving in the position “has been an honor” — and acknowledged the challenges that came along with it.

“The past four years have tested us as a nation. Even before I was sworn in we knew that foreign adversaries had interfered in the 2016 election,” Harris wrote in part. “Soon thereafter, families were being separated at the border, and our work to combat climate change was being dismantled. Since then, three Supreme Court nominees have come before the Senate Judiciary committee on which I have sat. Wildfires have ravaged our state, racial injustice continues to plague our nation, and COVID-19 plagues the world.”

Despite these hardships, Harris went on to highlight the progressive legislation she was able to pass during her time as Senator. The 56-year-old was sworn in on Jan. 3, 2017, and served less than one full term before announcing her candidacy for president, ultimately becoming the vice president-elect. 

Harris listed some of her proudest achievements and pieces of legislation, including: the Jobs and Neighborhood Investment Act, which will provide $12 billion to community-focused and minority-owned businesses impacted by the pandemic; the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act, the first-ever federal anti-lynching legislation assed by the Senate; and the Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act of 2017, which encouraged states to end the practice of cash bail.

“From helping seniors navigate the Medicare system to helping veterans get the benefits they are owed, from securing funding for families to rebuild after the wildfires to working to get small businesses what they need to stay afloat — my team heard you, we saw you, and we fought for you,” Harris said, thanking her team for “working tirelessly” for Californians over the past several months. 

Harris later released a video message thanking Californians "for the honor of representing the place of my birth as a proud daughter of California."

Harris will be replaced in the Senate by Alex Padilla, California’s Secretary of State. In her letter Monday, Harris said she is confident Padilla “will carry on this work” on behalf of the people of California. 

Still, Harris wrote, her letter was not a farewell, saying: “Today, as I resign from the Senate, I am preparing to take an oath that would have me preside over it.”

“Change is possible. For that, I am grateful and ready to get to work,” Harris concluded. “Thus, as I leave the United States Senate, this is not goodbye. This is hello.”