Democrat Stacey Abrams, the minority leader in Georgia’s House of Representatives, took the first steps last week in a bid for the state’s governorship.
Abrams has filed paperwork to run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Though her aides told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the move was exploratory, the outlet reported that Abrams “has hired staffers and crisscrossed the state readying for an announcement.”
“Every Georgian deserves the freedom and opportunity to succeed, but too many of us are being left behind or left out,” Abrams said in a Wednesday Facebook post announcing she was exploring a run. “We must build a Georgia where equality fosters prosperity, and where everyone has the opportunity to thrive—not just survive. That is why I am exploring a run for governor of our state. I believe our beginnings do not have to dictate who we will become, and I have a boundless belief in Georgians’ capacity to prosper.”
Abrams in 2010 became “the first woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly and the first African American to lead in the House of Representatives,” according to her campaign’s website.
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After the state GOP introduced a 20-week abortion ban, Abrams joined pro-choice allies to introduce a protest measure that sought to block men from getting vasectomies. “The Republican attack on women’s reproductive rights is unconscionable,” Abrams said in a statement at the time, according to the Huffington Post. “What is more deplorable is the hypocrisy of HB 954’s author. If we follow his logic, we believe it is the obligation of the General Assembly to assert an equally invasive state interest in the reproductive habits of men and substitute the will of the government over the will of men.”
She received EMILY’s List’s Rising Star Award in 2014. “Stacey Abrams has shown us an extraordinary commitment to community, dedication to women and families, and civility that have been the highlights of former Representative Gabrielle Giffords’ career, in and out of office,” said the organization’s president, Stephanie Schriock, in a press release.
Abrams in an interview with Rewire at the 2016 Democratic National Convention criticized Democrats who claimed the party needed to welcome anti-choice candidates into its ranks to win races in places like the South. That interview has new relevance today as the party has struggled to define how reproductive freedoms factor into their vision of the party.
She called the strategy “dangerous” and said it assumes “that the South is the same static place it was 50 or 100 years ago.”
Abrams said welcoming anti-choice candidates doesn’t take into account the intersecting identities of voters. “We are only successful when we acknowledge that I can be a Black woman who may be raised religiously pro-life but believe that other women have the right to make a choice,” she said. “And the extent to which we think about ourselves only in terms of white men and trying to convince that very and increasingly narrow population to be our saviors in elections, that’s when we face the likelihood of being obsolete.”
Abrams, in a speech before the 2016 DNC, discussed how she had grown up with the “economic insecurity that is driven by racism, sexism, and the ills that come with being born in the wrong zip code.”
“I am here today as part of a new American majority, one that has the courage to work together rather than tear our nation apart,” she said. “We are the architects of solutions to help families raise healthy children and make a living wage, rather than crippling our economic future and pushing dangerous policies that deny Medicaid expansion and reproductive choice. We fight for more because that is who we are.”
“The Democratic Party is the party of civil rights and human rights, of space flight, and moon shots,” she continued. “We will always be the party of progress and inclusion, and we will not allow this country to return to an era of discrimination.”