Kamala Harris officially moves into US vice presidential residence

Historic move into US Naval Observatory residence was delayed by essential repairs

Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff are officially moving into the US vice presidential residence, where they will stay for the duration of her term working alongside US President Joe Biden.

She is the first woman of colour to serve as US vice president and to live in the residence.

This week's historic move into the 128-year-old house on the grounds of the US Naval Observatory was delayed for two months by repairs, said Ms Harris's chief representative, Symone Sanders.

Staff believed it would be best to carry out the renovations at Number One Observatory Circle immediately after former vice president Mike Pence departed, following Ms Harris's inauguration on January 20.

They decided it would be easier to do them with Ms Harris and Mr Emhoff out of the way.

Mr Biden has said he enjoyed his time at the residence when he lived there while working with former president Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017.

Early into his presidency, he told CNN that the White House is "very different" from the Naval Observatory house.

"You can walk off a porch in the summer and jump in a pool and, you know, go into the work," Mr Biden said. "You can ride a bicycle around and never leave the property and work out."

The repairs were extensive. Workers refurbished hardwood floors, cleaned out chimney liners and updated the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system.

The renovations were reportedly only supposed to take a couple of weeks but went into more than two months.

Ms Harris and Mr Emhoff have been spending their time since the January 20 inauguration at Blair House, the president's guest residence, which is a block away from the White House.

The two have also been busy travelling around the country, heralding the Biden administration's work on Covid-19 vaccinations, pandemic relief and infrastructure plans.

The vice presidential residence is about three kilometres north-west of the White House, a short 15 to 20-minute commute.

The US Secret Service detained a Texas man who tried to enter the house's grounds with ammunition in mid-March. He was arrested on a weapons charge.

Updated: April 22, 2021 04:52 PM


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