Stacey Abrams

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Stacey Abrams
Stacey Abrams 2012.jpg
Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives
In office
January 10, 2011 – July 1, 2017
Preceded byDuBose Porter
Succeeded byBob Trammell
Member of the Georgia House of Representatives
from the 89th district
In office
January 14, 2013 – August 25, 2017
Preceded byEarnest Williams
Succeeded byBee Nguyen
Member of the Georgia House of Representatives
from the 84th district
In office
January 8, 2007 – January 14, 2013
Preceded byJoAnn McClinton
Succeeded byRahn Mayo
Personal details
Stacey Yvonne Abrams

(1973-12-09) December 9, 1973 (age 45)
Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
RelativesLeslie Abrams (sister)
EducationSpelman College (BA)
University of Texas, Austin (MPA)
Yale University (JD)
WebsiteOfficial website

Stacey Yvonne Abrams (born December 9, 1973) is an American politician, lawyer and novelist who served as Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017.[1] A member of the Democratic Party, she was her party's nominee in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election. Abrams was the first black female major-party gubernatorial nominee in the history of the United States.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Abrams, one of six siblings, was born to Robert and Carolyn Abrams in Madison, Wisconsin and raised in Gulfport, Mississippi.[3] The family moved to Atlanta, where her parents pursued graduate school and later became Methodist ministers.[4][5] She attended Avondale High School, was selected for a Telluride Association Summer Program.[6] While in high school, she was hired as a typist for a congressional campaign and was later hired as a speechwriter at age 17 based on the edits she made while typing.[6]

In 1995, Abrams earned her Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (Political Science, Economics and Sociology) from Spelman College, magna cum laude.[1] While in college, Abrams worked in the youth services department in the office of Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson.[6] She later interned at the Environmental Protection Agency.[6] As a freshman, she took part in a protest on the steps of the Georgia Capitol in 1992 in which she joined in the burning of the state flag, which at the time incorporated the Confederate battle flag, which had been added to the state flag in 1956 as an anti-civil rights movement gesture.[7][8]

As a Harry S. Truman Scholar, Abrams studied public policy at the University of Texas at Austin's LBJ School of Public Affairs and earned a Master of Public Affairs degree in 1998. In 1999, she earned a law degree from Yale Law School.[1]

Legal and business career[edit]

After graduating from law school, Abrams worked as a tax attorney at the Sutherland Asbill & Brennan law firm in Atlanta, with a focus on tax-exempt organizations, health care, and public finance.[1] In 2010, while a member of the Georgia General Assembly, Abrams co-founded and served as the senior vice president of NOW Corp. (formerly NOWaccount Network Corporation), a financial services firm.[9][10]

Abrams also co-founded Nourish, Inc., a beverage company with a focus on infants and toddlers.[11] In addition, Abrams is CEO of Sage Works, a legal consulting firm that has represented clients including the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA.[12]

Political career[edit]

In 2002, at age 29, Abrams was appointed the Deputy City Attorney for Atlanta.[1][13]

Georgia General Assembly, 2007–2017[edit]

Abrams with John Lewis in 2017

Abrams represented House District 89, which includes portions of the City of Atlanta and unincorporated DeKalb County,[14] covering the communities of Candler Park, Cedar Grove, Columbia, Druid Hills, Edgewood, Highland Park, Kelley Lake, Kirkwood, Lake Claire, South DeKalb, Toney Valley, and Tilson.[15] Abrams served on the following committees: Appropriations, Ethics, Judiciary Non-Civil, Rules and Ways & Means.[16]

Abrams first major action as Minority Leader was her cooperation with Republican Governor Nathan Deal's administration to reform the HOPE Scholarship Program. Abrams co-sponsored the 2011 legislation that preserved the HOPE program by decreasing the scholarship amount paid to Georgia students and funded a 1% low-interest loan program for students.[17]

According to TIME magazine, Abrams "can credibly boast of having single-handedly stopped the largest tax increase in Georgia history."[18] In 2011, Abrams argued that a Republican proposal to cut income taxes while increasing a tax on cable service would lead to net increase in taxes paid by most people.[18] Abrams performed an analysis of the bill, showed that 82% of Georgians would see net tax increases, and then left a copy of the analysis on the desk of every house legislator.[18] Subsequently, the bill failed.[18]

As house minority leader, Abrams worked with Deal on criminal-justice reforms that reduced prison costs without increasing crime.[18] She also worked with Republicans on the state's biggest-ever public-transportation funding package.[18]

Georgia gubernatorial campaign, 2018[edit]

Abrams campaigning in 2018.

Abrams ran for Governor of Georgia in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election.[19] In the Democratic primary she ran against Stacey Evans, another member of the Georgia House of Representatives.[19] The media referred to this as "the battle of the Staceys."[20][21] Abrams, who ran on a progressive platform focused on children's issues and economic fairness, would have been the first African-American female governor of a U.S. state, were she elected.[22] On May 22, 2018, Abrams won the Democratic nomination for governor, making her the first black woman to be a major party's nominee for governor.[23]

Abrams secured a number of high-profile endorsements, including one from former president of the United States Barack Obama.[24][25]

Almost a week before election day, her gubernatorial opponent Brian Kemp cancelled a debate scheduled seven weeks in advance in order to attend a Trump rally in Georgia. Kemp blamed Abrams for the cancellation, saying that she was unwilling to reschedule it. Abrams responded saying, “We refuse to callously take Georgians for granted and cancel on them. Just because Brian Kemp breaks his promises doesn’t mean anyone else should.”[26]

Political positions[edit]

Abrams supports abortion rights, has called for expanded gun control, and opposes proposals for stricter voter ID laws, arguing that they disenfranchise minorities and the poor.[27][28] Abrams pledged to oppose similar legislation to the religious liberty bill that Republican governor Nathan Deal vetoed in 2016.[29][30]


In her campaign for Governor, Abrams said her top priority was Medicaid expansion.[18][31] Abrams cited research showing that Medicaid expansion improved health care access for low-income and made hospitals in rural locations financially viable.[31]


Abrams would like to increase spending on public education.[18]

Criminal justice reform[edit]

Abrams supports criminal justice reform in the form of ending cash bail for poor defendants, ending the death penalty, and decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana possession.[32][33]

Writing career[edit]

Abrams has published articles on issues of public policy, taxation, and nonprofit organizations.[34] Under the pen name Selena Montgomery, Abrams is the award-winning author of several romantic suspense novels. According to Abrams, she has sold more than 100,000 copies of her novels.[16] Selena Montgomery was the winner of both the Reviewer's Choice Award and the Reader's Favorite Award from Romance In Color for Best New Author, and was featured as a Rising Star.[35] Abrams is also the author of Minority Leader: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Real Change published by Henry Holt & Co. in April 2018.[36]

Honors and awards[edit]

In 2012, Abrams received the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award from the Kennedy Library and Harvard University's Institute of Politics, which honors an elected official under 40 whose work demonstrates the impact of elective public service as a way to address public challenges.[37] In 2014, she was named a Public Official of the Year by Governing Magazine, an award which recognizes state and local official for outstanding accomplishments.[38] Abrams was recognized as one of "12 Rising Legislators to Watch" by the same publication in 2012 [39] and one of the "100 Most Influential Georgians" by Georgia Trend for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.[40]

EMILY's List recognized Abrams as the inaugural recipient of the Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award in 2014.[41] She was selected as an Aspen Rodel Fellow [42] and a Hunt-Kean Fellow.[43] She was also named as #11 on The Root 100 by The Root.[44] Abrams was named Legislator of the Year by the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals, Public Servant of the Year by the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Outstanding Public Service by the Latin American Association, Champion for Georgia Cities by the Georgia Municipal Association, and as Legislator of the Year by the DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce.[45]

She received the Georgia Legislative Service Award from the Association County Commissioners Georgia, the Democratic Legislator of the Year from the Young Democrats of Georgia and Red Clay Democrats, and an Environmental Leader Award from the Georgia Conservation Voters.[45] Abrams is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations,[46] a Next Generation Fellow of the American Assembly,[47] an American Marshall Memorial Fellow,[47] a Salzburg Seminar – Freeman Fellow on U.S.-East Asian Relations,[48] and a Yukos Fellow for U.S. – Russian Relations.[48]

Abrams received the Stevens Award for Outstanding Legal Contributions and the Elmer Staats Award for Public Service, both national honors presented by the Harry S. Truman Foundation.[49][50] She was also a 1994 Harry S. Truman Scholar.[51]

In 2001, Abrams was named one of "30 Leaders of the Future" by Ebony Magazine.[52] In 2004, she was named to Georgia Trend's "40 Under 40" list,[53] and the Atlanta Business Chronicle named Abrams to its Top 50 Under 40 list. In 2006, she was named a Georgia Rising Star by Atlanta Magazine and Law & Politics Magazine.[54]

Abrams received a single vote from Rep. Kathleen Rice for the 2019 election for Speaker of the U.S. House.[55]

Other work[edit]

Abrams currently serves on the Boards of Directors for Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, Atlanta Metropolitan State College Foundation, Gateway Center for the Homeless and the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, and the Advisory Boards for Literacy Action and Health Students Taking Action Together (HSTAT). She also serves on the Board of Visitors for Agnes Scott College and the University of Georgia,[56] as well as on the Board of Advisors for Let America Vote (a voting rights organization founded by former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander).[57]

Personal life[edit]

Abrams is one of six children born to Reverend Carolyn and the Reverend Robert Abrams originally of Mississippi.[4] Her sister, Leslie Abrams, is a federal judge in the Middle District of Georgia.[58][59]

In April 2018, Abrams wrote an op-ed for Fortune revealing that she owes $50,000 in back taxes and holds $170,000 in credit card and student loan debt.[60]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Honorary Degree Recipient Stacey Yvonne Abrams". Spelman College. March 2017. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  2. ^ Bradner, Eric (May 22, 2018). "Stacey Abrams wins Democratic primary in Georgia. She could become the nation's first black woman governor". CNN. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  3. ^ Fouriezos, Nick (January 28, 2016). "Georgia's Daring Heroine on a Secret Mission". Yahoo! News. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Galloway, Jim (March 25, 2017). "The possibility of a Democratic race for governor between two Staceys". The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  5. ^ Ford, Ashley (September 28, 2016). "State Representative Stacey Abrams Is the Bright Future of American Politics". Lenny. Archived from the original on October 27, 2017. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d Graves, Lucia (May 3, 2017). "Meet the Democrat who wants to be America's first black female governor". The Guardian. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  7. ^ Richard Fausset, Stacey Abrams's Burning of Georgia Flag With Confederate Symbol Surfaces on Eve of Debate, New York Times (October 22, 2018).
  8. ^ Cleve R. Wootson Jr., 'I'm a proud Georgian': Stacey Abrams defends 1992 flag-burning protest, Washington Post (October 23, 2018).
  9. ^ Allison, David (April 28, 2014). "Small business payment firm NOWAccount Network raises $2M". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  10. ^ "NOWaccount".
  11. ^ Wade Talbert, Marcia (September 24, 2010). "Inventors Insider: 4 Rules for Inventing With a Partner". Black Enterprise. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  12. ^ Hickey, Patrick (October 15, 2015). "House Minority Leader Abrams Talks New Georgia Project, Gig Economy and Upcoming Session". Southern Political Report. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  13. ^ "Rep. Stacey Abrams reflects on MLK legacy in annual Centre convo". Centre College. January 12, 2017. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  14. ^ "Representative Stacey Abrams".
  15. ^ "Stacey Abrams for Georgia". Stacey Abrams for Governor.
  16. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 30, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "House approves HOPE bill, but challenges in Senate loom". Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h "Stacey Abrams Could Become America's First Black Female Governor—If She Can Turn Georgia Blue". Time. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  19. ^ a b Zito, Salena (June 25, 2017). "The fate of the Democrats' future may lie in Georgia". The Washington Examiner. Archived from the original on June 25, 2017. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
  20. ^ Stein, Letitia (December 20, 2017). "In Georgia, battle of the 'Staceys' tests Democrats' future". Reuters. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  21. ^ Catanese, David (May 21, 2018). "A Tale of Two Staceys in Georgia". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  22. ^ Martin, Johnathan; Burns, Alexander (May 22, 2018). "Stacey Abrams Wins Georgia Democratic Primary for Governor, Making History". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  23. ^ Bradner, Eric. "Stacey Abrams wins Democratic primary in Georgia. She could become the nation's first black woman governor". CNN. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  24. ^ "Barack and Michelle Obama just endorsed nearly 100 midterm candidates". NBC News. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  25. ^ "Obama versus Trump in Georgia? Ex-president lines up behind Abrams". politics.myajc. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  26. ^ "Final Debate in Georgia Governor's Race Canceled as Republican Breaks Schedule". Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  27. ^ "Abrams-Kemp Georgia gov race matchup sets up a sharp November contrast". politics.myajc. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  28. ^ "Jobs, jobs, jobs: Abrams touts economic plan – and avoids Kemp attack". politics.myajc. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  29. ^ "In Georgia Governor's Race, a Defining Moment for a Southern State". Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  30. ^ "Analysis | Georgia's gubernatorial race may be the purest example of politics in the Trump era". Washington Post. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  31. ^ a b "Stacey Abrams Hopes Medicaid Expansion Can Be a Winning Issue in Rural Georgia". Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  32. ^ "Abrams pledges to eliminate cash bail system, decriminalize some marijuana offenses". politics.myajc. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  33. ^ "Abrams-Kemp Georgia gov race matchup sets up a sharp November contrast". politics.myajc. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  34. ^ "Stacey Abrams Author References, Huffington Post".
  35. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 20, 2010. Retrieved June 6, 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  36. ^ "Minority Leader - Stacey Abrams - Macmillan".
  37. ^ "Stacey Abrams 2012 – John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum".
  38. ^ "Stacey Abrams, Georgia".
  39. ^ "12 State Legislators to Watch in 2012".
  40. ^ "100 Most Influential Georgians – Georgia Trend".
  41. ^ "Stacey Abrams Receives First Ever Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award". Emily's List. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  42. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 13, 2015. Retrieved January 22, 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  43. ^ "Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows – The Hunt Institute".
  44. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 28, 2015. Retrieved January 26, 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  45. ^ a b "Speakers". Governing. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  46. ^ Gould Sheinin, Aaron. "DNC 2016: Five things to know about Stacey Abrams". The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  47. ^ a b "Ga. State House of Representatives Minority Leader Stacey Abrams to Keynote 2011 Buttimer Dinner". The Savannah Tribune. October 19, 2011. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  48. ^ a b St. Claire, Pat (March 12, 2015). "House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams: Accomplished And Driven". GPB. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  49. ^ "Rep Stacey Abrams" (PDF).
  50. ^ "Harry Truman America's Truman Scholars" (PDF).
  51. ^ "Search Our Scholars | The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation". Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  52. ^ "30 Leaders of the Future". Ebony Magazine. December 2001. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  53. ^ Kirkpatrick, Karen (October 2016). "Georgia Trend's 2016 40 Under 40". Georgia Trend. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  54. ^ Barry, Tom. "Stacey Abrams' life is Action-Packed! And Spine-Tingling! Even without the spy novels she writes". Super Lawyers. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  55. ^
  56. ^ "Agnes Scott College – Board of Visitors". Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  57. ^ "Advisors". Let America Vote. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  58. ^ Malloy, Daniel (March 11, 2014). "Obama nominates Leslie Abrams — Stacey's sister — for federal judgeship". The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  59. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress – 2nd Session". Vote Summary: Vote Number 281. United States Senate. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  60. ^ Wattles, Jackie (April 25, 2018). "Georgia governor candidate Stacey Abrams is $200,000 in debt. She's not alone". CNN Money. Retrieved May 23, 2018.

External links[edit]

Georgia House of Representatives
Preceded by
JoAnn McClinton
Member of the Georgia House of Representatives
from the 84th district

Succeeded by
Rahn Mayo
Preceded by
Earnest Williams
Member of the Georgia House of Representatives
from the 89th district

Succeeded by
Bee Nguyen
Preceded by
DuBose Porter
Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Bob Trammell
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jason Carter
Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia
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