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Can Stacey Abrams Become America's First Black Female Governor

Georgia State Representative Stacey Abrams knows how difficult her task will be. Georgia has not elected a Democratic Governor in decades. But she is special candidate who connects easily with voters and will have the funds to compete against Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Moreover, she has built a reputation as a skilled legislator, willing to work with Republicans to solve Georgia's problems.

By MOLLY BALL, Time: "In 2010, Abrams was elected house minority leader, becoming the first woman to lead a caucus in either chamber of the legislature. Georgia, which had been mostly led by Democrats since Reconstruction, was undergoing a rapid shift to Republican dominance, and the 2010 Republican wave had put all statewide offices in GOP hands. Still, Abrams was able to gain leverage for the badly outnumbered Democrats through her command of the issues and by exploiting Republican divisions. The current GOP governor, Nathan Deal, is a business-friendly moderate who has vetoed religious-liberty and firearms bills. Abrams worked with him on criminal-justice reforms that have been hailed nationally for reducing prison costs without increasing crime. She worked with Republicans to secure the state’s biggest-ever public-transportation funding package and to prevent a popular scholarship program from being cut. In the gubernatorial primary, her Democratic opponent, former state legislator Stacey Evans, accused Abrams of being too willing to cooperate with Republicans."

"If elected, Abrams vows to be “the public education governor,” boosting Georgia’s education budget after years of painful cuts. She would expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and enhance state services for people like her brother Walter, a heroin addict and ex-convict whose story she tells to illustrate her personal connection to criminal-justice and mental-health issues. Georgia’s economy is booming, but Abrams points out that the wealth is not widely shared and promises to make the state’s development more inclusive by encouraging small business."

You can read the entire story here. Stacey Abrams is the type of candidate that could help Democrats erode Republican dominance in the South.

This is the first in a series of pieces we will run on candidates leading up to the November election.

Photo credit: Kerri Battles for LBJ School aka Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs


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