Former Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives Stacey Abrams is delivering the Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. Last year when Abrams ran for governor of the State of Georgia, the Yale Law School graduate became the first black female major-party gubernatorial nominee in the history of the United States. (Republican Brian Kemp won the election by two points.)
Ironically, when Abrams was valedictorian of her public high school class (Avondale High, which closed in a controversial cost-saving measure in 2011), she was invited to the governor’s mansion and was turned away by a guard at the gates. The story is featured in the book Why I Run: 35 Progressive Candidates Who Are Changing Politics. The foreword is written by Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois.
During her gubernatorial campaign, Abrams vowed to be “the public education governor” and to boost Georgia’s education budget after years of painful cuts. In April 2018, Abrams wrote an op-ed in Fortune revealing that she owes $170,000 in credit card and student loan debt and $50,000 in deferred tax payments (she’s on a repayment plan).
Abrams talks about her brother Walter, who was incarcerated, and her own personal struggles in the campaign video below. As she says in the video, “You cannot lead a people you don’t understand, and you can’t solve problems you refuse to acknowledge.”