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Georgia politician campaigns to be 1st female African-American governor in U.S. history

Category: Gender in the world 
2017-06-08

Stacey Abrams — 43-year-old Democratic leader of the Georgia State House –officially announced her intentions to run for governor. Should she be elected, Abrams will be the first African-American woman in U.S. history to hold a gubernatorial seat. While the demographic of politics in the southern United States is rapidly changing, the fight is likely to be an arduous one.

 

Speaking before a crowd of about 100 supporters during a barbeque at Chehaw Park in Albany, Georgia, Abrams asked the crowd to pray for her endeavors and work with her in the months to come. “I want government to work everyday, for everyone,” Abrams said. In the past decade, no Georgian Democrat has been successful in a bid for a statewide office and, if Abrams succeeds, she will become one of only 12 black women nationwide to have ever been elected to statewide positions. “Democrats in the South have to reject the notion that our geography requires that politicians soften our commitment to equality and opportunity and that you have to look a certain way,” Abrams explained in an interview with The Washington Post. “We have to be architects of progressive solutions, and that means leadership that believes we can defy the odds.”

 

Abrams, who helped found the New Georgia Project in 2014, an organization designed to help diversify the voter base through outreach and voter registration — those targeted are mainly unmarried women, people of color and voters between 18 to 29 years of age — is hoping that those previously underrepresented voter groups could help tip the scales in favor of Democrats. However, Abrams won’t be the only female Democrat vying for the state’s top job. State Representative Stacey Evans, who is white, already announced her candidacy last month, and is running on a platform similar to that of Abrams.

 

“Her ability, particularly as leader in the legislature, and what will make her a great governor, is the ability to pull folks together to really come to solutions even if they all don’t agree with each other,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of Emily’s list, an organization that supports female political candidates who champion abortion rights. Although the election is more than a year away, Abrams is optimistic that this time around, Democrats will be able to amass the necessary votes for an upset. “We’ve been able to cut their margin of victory in half in two cycles, but what we have never done is reach out to those voters who’ve been left out and been forgotten,” Abrams said. “And what we have not done is build a coalition of voters who have a shared ambition for success. I’ve done that.”


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Tags: Stacey Abrams Georgia State House

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