Get To Know Stacey Abrams
You might have first heard Abrams’ name in the fall of 2018 when she became the first Black woman nominee for a major-party gubernatorial race. Stacey Abrams lost that election against Republican Brian Kemp, but she won more votes than any other Democratic candidate in the state’s history.
When she admitted defeat in the election, Abrams commented that the “erosion of our democracy” had kept many of her supporters away from Georgia polls, alleging that voter suppression in the state had gravely affected her campaign. After that election, Abrams, who is a Yale Law School graduate and served for 11 years in the Georgia House of Representatives, founded Fair Fight, an organization that trains voter protection teams in 20 battleground states.
As a gubernatorial candidate, Abrams:
- Promised to be “the public education governor” and vowed to boost Georgia’s education funding after painful cuts.
- Said she would expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and enhance state services for addicts; this issue is personal to her because her brother Walter is an addict and ex-convict.
- Supported Dreamers and the expansion of state scholarships awarded to them.
In the Georgia House of Representatives she:
- Honed her reputation as liberal on social issues but also “a pragmatist,” as Time reported in 2018, noting that she was given a Friend of Labor award from Georgia’s AFL-CIO union and an ‘A’ rating from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce in the same year.
- Stopped damaging legislation from passing, like a 2011 Republican plan to cut income tax while raising the taxes on cable service, which she proved to her fellow legislators would increase taxes for 82% of Georgians. The tax overhaul failed.
In a live chat with Supermajority’s Cecile Richards and Ai-jen Poo in April, Abrams highlighted four pieces of advice that have guided her in her career:
- “Meet people where they are.” This is advice she got from her mother: “She stopped me, and she said, ‘Stacey, your job is to meet people where they are—not where you want them to be. Because if they’re already where you want them to be, why are you necessary? You have to go to where they are. Go to the point of their needs.’”
- “Never tell yourself no.” This advice came from Abram’s father. “We’re often talking ourselves out of the capacity we have for change, the capacity we have for leadership, and I took to heart what he said,” Abrams said in the interview. “I don’t tell myself no. Because there were plenty of people who will tell me I can’t. My job is to tell myself how I can.”
- You can borrow power from others. “Sometimes we have to borrow other people’s power whether they want us to have it or not,” Abrams said. “I don’t accept that I don’t have the power to create change.”
- Your voice is what drives you. “My voice is that I like to learn,” she said. “And I like to share, and I do a really good job of trying to understand information and break it down. That’s my voice.”
In a May interview with The New Yorker, Abrams said she had “been brought into this national conversation [about being a potential Vice Presidential nominee] since last year.” She added that “at each phase of the conversation, I always answer directly because I know that people of color, that young girls, are watching me and how I respond. My obligation is to be who I am, and to not allow traditions to continue and perpetuate the consequences.”