A Cheesy Conversation With Senator Kamala Harris

Local Youth Talks about Meeting Democratic Candidate at Eastern Market

Hans Capozzi met Senator Kamala Harris, (D-CA) who is a running for Democratic candidate for President, while working at Bower's Fancy Dairy Products at Eastern Market. Photo: Hans Capozzi

It was your average Tuesday afternoon this summer on the job at Eastern Market, and although my co-worker Mark has A LOT of stories to tell, I found myself dozing off.

I got up on a stool to offer a woman help with any questions she might have, but she said she was still looking.

I found it quite intriguing a minute or two later when she and another customer began a very wholesome conversation in front of the register, keeping in mind that they were obviously strangers to one another. This woman had a definite presence about her and I thought to myself, “where do I know her from?”

As often happens, it was a customer who helped me learn. As the lady in question walked around to the side display, the man she had been conversing with leaned towards me and whispered “you know that’s Kamala Harris right? –she’s running for president!”

Carelessly I bellowed “OH! I thought she was like a news anchor or something!” Senator Harris laughed and said “not a news anchor!”

From this point on I began to feel like I was the only person sitting in the crowd of the Democratic debate who was allowed a few questions for one of the candidates.

My questions, of course, were about cheese. Senator Harris needed five different types for a dinner party, and I grew a third eye to make the following recommendations.

First, I said “how about a Manchego?”

Her eyes lit up, she responded “I love Manchegos!”

I then tried to go into my prototypical spiel about Manchego, you know, “it’s one cheese I can say is only made in…” but she finished my sentence, “..Spain!”

Surprisingly, Kamala (we were on a first name basis by that point) knew a lot about foreign cheeses. That she knows how to properly pronounce half of our French Bries would make me feel safe in her hands when it comes to international relations.

As I continued making suggestions we started talking about school. I told her that I was going to San Diego State University. She told me that she loves San Diego, and was impressed with the fact that I moved from DC to California in the blink of an eye, adding “but I don’t blame you!”

I then asked a non-cheese relation question. I’ve been following him for a while, so I asked the Senator, “how do you feel about Pete Buttigieg?”

“Buttigieg is great, I love his energy,” she said. The man she had been talking to previously chimed in from behind our debate stage to interject, “hey! I used to work on Buttigieg’s campaign!” Which just reminded me of how much of a political minefield DC can be, not to mention Eastern Market.

It probably doesn’t surprise readers, as it was unsurprising to me, that she was being rushed by her associates. By this point a crowd of five to ten people had gathered in hopes of taking pictures or getting a conversation with the Senator.

We said our goodbyes, I wished her luck with her party, and she wished me luck with school.

We ended our conversation the same way about ninety percent of people in my generation say farewell to a new friend: with a selfie.

Hans Capozzi is a student at San Diego State University and a graduate of McKinley Technical High School (151 T Street NE). He spent the summer working at Bower’s Fancy Dairy Products in Eastern Market. This is not his first brush with a politician linked to the Presidency: Capozzi was one of a select group of students who were chosen to meet with President Barack Obama at McKinley in September, 2018, a moment he wrote about in our sibling publication East of the River.