How exciting! Rising political star Stacey Abrams has been announced as the Democrat delivering the response to President Trump’s 2019 State of the Union on February 5. Learn more about her here.
She narrowly lost the 2018 gubernatorial race in Georgia, but Stacey Abrams isn’t going anywhere. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that he asked Abrams three weeks ago to deliver the Democratic response to the State of the Union, and that she gladly accepted. Abrams, the 45-year-old former Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, confirmed the news on Twitter: “At a moment when our nation needs to hear from leaders who can unite for a common purpose, I am honored to be delivering the Democratic State of the Union response.” Learn more about Abrams, her political journey, and what’s to come from her SOTU response:
1. Democrats picked Stacey Abrams to deliver their SOTU response because she’s a promising leader in the party. Schumer explained to press that Democrats selected Abrams because,”She is just a great spokesperson. She’s an incredible leader. She has led the charge for voting rights, which is at the root of just about everything else.” President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address was supposed to happen on January 29, but was postponed at House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s request due to the 35-day government shutdown. The shutdown, which Trump spearheaded because he wanted $5.7 billion for his border wall, officially ended on January 25. He will now deliver the address on February 5 with Abrams responding afterward. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra will deliver the Democratic response in Spanish.
2. She ran for Governor in Georgia and lost by less than 55,000 votes. Abrams’ loss to Georgia’s secretary of state, Brian Kemp, was one of the biggest upsets of the 2018 midterm elections. Abrams refused to concede victory after rampant allegations throughout the state of voter suppression; voters reported widespread discrepancies with their polling places, missing ballots, broken machine, and being told that they weren’t registered to vote at all. She later acknowledged that Kemp won, but challenged the results in court. Speculation has started that she could run against Republican Senator David Perdue in 2020. She was also recently spotted having a meeting with Kamala Harris, the democratic California senator who announced that she’s running for president in 2020.
3. She would have been the first black female governor in United States history. It was about more than being Georgia’s first democratic governor in 15 years. Yes, a black woman has never been a governor. Twenty-two states have never had a female governor at all. Abrams could was set to make history twice last November. “I’m very aware that as an African-American woman, I will be doing something no one else has done,” Abrams told CNN at the time.
4. She has the support of prominent Democrats and democratic celebrities. The former state House minority leader is getting help from inside and outside Georgia. She has backing from Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) among her endorsers. Hillary Clinton even recorded a robocall for her that’s been sent out to voters in Georgia. Democrat-supported groups like AFL-CIO, NARAL Pro-Choice America and EMILY’s List combined forces for a weekend get-out-the-vote rally in Atlanta, which was also attended by former adviser to former President Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett. Oprah Winfrey went door to door in Georgia campaigning for her, too!
5. A distressing incident in 1991 inspired her to enter politics. In 1991, a young Abrams excitedly traveled to the Georgia Governor’s Mansion by bus with her parents so the high school valedictorian could be honored as one of the top students in the state. But a security guard refused to let them inside. “I distinctly remember him looking at the MARTA bus, looking at my parents and making a decision. The security guard refused to allow us inside. He said it was a private event,” Abrams recalls.
While they were ultimately let inside after pointing out that her name was first on the guest list, the incident still disturbed the teenager. While she doesn’t know if it was because of her race, she said that the way she felt about it fueled her drive.“In front of the most powerful place in Georgia, telling me I don’t belong there, that’s resonated for me for the last 20 years. The reality is having a right to be places does not always mean that you’ll gain admission,” she said.