Stacey Abrams on Principles & Values
Democratic Gubernatorial Challenger (GA); 2020 Veepstakes contender
Joined corporate wing of Democrats, rather than Bernie wing
Abrams stepped onto the national stage while signaling her embrace of the Democratic Party's corporate wing. She joined the board of directors at the Center for American Progress (CAP), which is second to none as a powerful political operation for
the party's Clinton-aligned forces, fiercely hostile to the Bernie Sanders wing of the party. Abrams doubled down on throwing her lot in with the corporate wing of the party when she joined the board of a major big-money organization, Priorities USA.
Source: Counterpunch.org political e-zine on 2020 Veepstakes
, May 28, 2020
If I didn't speak up for myself, no one else would
I'm the daughter of two ministers. I was raised to tell the truth. When I'm asked a question, I answer it as directly and honestly as I can. As a young black girl growing up in Mississippi, I learned that if I didn't speak up for myself,
no one else would. My mission is to say out loud if I'm asked the question, "Yes, I would be willing to serve." I know that there's a process that will be played out, that Joe Biden is going to put together the best team possible.
Source: NBC Meet the Press interview for 2020 Veepstakes
, Apr 26, 2020
Run for the job you want; I'm best on executive side
I think you run for the job you want. And you need to want to do the job when you have it. I am proud of my service in the state legislature. I am proud of the work that I was able to do as leader.
I do not want to do that work again. My highest and best use, I believe, based on what I've been able to do for most of my life, I'm good at trying to fix things. I enjoy and I am best at the executive side of my job.
Source: National Press Club Remarks: 2022 Georgia Governor election
, Nov 15, 2019
Prefers organizing systems for change to legislating
The Senate was not the right place for me. My bent for most of my adult life has been systems--figuring out how do you organize systems to create change, to structure and promote the ideals that I hold to be true. I've created organizations such as the
New Georgia Project, and most recently Fair Fight Action and Fair Count, to tackle the issues that I see. And those tend to be more executive-level jobs. I've run organizations. I have been a part of managing teams.
Our responsibility is to always have a forward vision that assumes that we will be better than we were. That's been the experiment of the United States. Our national experiment has always been about recognizing
that we make deeply, deeply flawed decisions, that we have been inhumane in ways that are a shame to our national history, but why we are who we are is that we confront those challenges and we try to improve.
Source: Council on Foreign Relations on 2022 Georgia Governor race
, May 10, 2019
First black woman as major party governor nominee
In May 2017, I became the first black woman to receive the gubernatorial nomination in American history. On November 6, 2018, I received more votes than any Democrat in Georgia history, outpacing Barack Obama and Secretary of state,
Hillary Clinton. I learned later that our turnout tripled the amount of Latinos and Asian Americans, more than doubled the youth participation rate.
I received more votes from African Americans than the sum [of all] voters in 2014. My candidacy created a path to win a congressional seat and flip sixteen legislative seats.
I received the highest white vote in a generation. And I was within 1.4% of the man who had run the election and run against me-serving as both contestant and referee.
Source: Lead from the Outside, by Stacey Abrams, p. xiii
, Mar 26, 2019
Yale Law School; tax attorney and romance novelist
I received a master's degree from the University of Texas. I would attend Yale School of Law, the most exclusive in the country, where I would try to confront the questions of race and gender in a space that prided itself on mediocrity, on ignoring
the value of privilege, though I could count the number of folks who looked like me in a class on one hand.
When I graduated from Yale, I joined a white-shoe law firm, where I was the only person of color who practiced my type of tax law.
Despite the long history of the firm, only two people of color had ever become partners--and this was one of the more diversity conscious law firms in Atlanta.
For every success-becoming deputy city attorney, running for office,
and rising in less than four years to serve as the minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives-I have consistently confronted racism, sexism, ageism, and other bias about my otherness.
Source: Lead from the Outside, by Stacey Abrams, p. xxvi
, Mar 26, 2019
What do I want, and how do I get there?
When we win, we achieve beyond ourselves. We become models for others, known and unknown, who see our victories as proof that they can win too. Even by simply embracing ambition, talking about it, trying and failing, we mentor others who see their
potential. And by going beyond their own limits, we change the places we inhabit. We bring a fresh perspective to a company or a cause, a minority lens that expands or shifts how the work gets done.
So what takes us beyond the dream to charting a new
reality? Whether the dream is to run a company, run for office , or run a 5k-or even if your dream has not yet been discovered-the path to recognizing ambition is the sme;1. What do I want? 2. Why do I want it? 3. How do I get there?
these steps, it's important to understand & internalize our right to being ambitious. Because, for too many of us, we are stopped in our tracks before we even begin because we don't believe we deserve to want more. And it is by wanting more that we win.
Source: Lead from the Outside, by Stacey Abrams, p. 6-7
, Mar 26, 2019
The best ideas & the best policies are collaborative
Given the scope of the issues we face, too often we wrongly map out power by assuming the right leader is the one with the most brilliant mind, with the most unique approach, WHO CAN GO IT ALONE. Moreover, as minorities, we believe that to be valued, we
must take all the credit and be the author of every solution. I assure you, this thinking is wrong. The best ideas and policies are typically collaborative, and those that succeed are the product of a community.
When a woman, a person of color,
or a millennial prepares to lead, she can be lulled into believing that the resident genius will be the winner, and the only way the work gets done is to go it alone. The reality is much simpler: the ones who deny themselves a place in the room where
the work gets done will be the victims, not the leaders. Too often, race, gender, and age convince us to sacrifice our power because no one has told us we have it--or that we already have access to enough of it if we read our power map.
Source: Lead from the Outside, by Stacey Abrams, p.169-70
, Mar 26, 2019
Short-sighted leaders have definite opinion about everything
Public policy--usually--isn't good or evil, or even that interesting. It is mundane and routine, and it cuts across neighborhoods, nations, and ideologies. So when a belief allows for only a single myopic focus, a solitary filter has no room for debate,
leaders miss the true role of government and of public policy. The same goes in the office where doing what has always been done in the reason to keep doing it wrong, or where fear of the unknown paralyzes decision making.
These shortsighted leaders are easy to spot. They are the ones who have a definite opinion about every headline and give you the answer before you ask the question. And if you can't point out who is in the circle of colleagues is that person, it just
might be you.
I do have core beliefs, but I don't have an unshakeable opinion on every issue. I accept I may not know enough about every situation to render immediate judgement.
Source: Lead from the Outside, by Stacey Abrams, p.171-2
, Mar 26, 2019
I author romance novels, but I'm not married
As the author of romance novels, I have been asked on more than one occasion of my love life. As I got ready to run for governor, we did focus groups, and one of those topics was how harshly I would be judged for my single status.
The kindest question about why I'm not married is usually acknowledged by how busy I am. Less thoughtful ones accuse me of being too ambitious and of prioritizing my professional goals over my personal life.
Years ago, I decided to ignore how society told me I should behave because what I was doing turned out pretty well.
I have erred along the way in romantic relationships (a book for another day) but not because I picked work over life.
Source: Lead from the Outside, by Stacey Abrams, p.180-1
, Mar 26, 2019
Election loss: Something being legal does not make it right
Abrams refused to describe her Republican opponent Brian Kemp as the legitimate new governor after acknowledging her defeat to him a day earlier. Abrams suggested voter suppression played a role in the state's gubernatorial election and described Kemp--
who was the Secretary of State during the race--only as the "legal" governor. "He is the person who won an adequate number of votes to become the governor" in accordance with the law, Abrams said. "Something being legal does not make it right."
Source: The Daily Beast on 2018 Georgia Governor race
, Nov 18, 2018
Endorsed by Our Revolution national progressive group
[Candidate endorsed by the local progressive group coming out of the 2016 Bernie Sanders for President campaign. Their self-description]:
The goal of Our Revolution is to reclaim democracy for the working people of our country by harnessing the
transformative energy of the "political revolution." Our Revolution is made up of hundreds of local groups all across the world, and all of our endorsements must first originate with a nomination from an official group.
Source: Our Revolution endorsement for 2016 U.S. Congress
, May 22, 2018
Leadership requires confidence, insight, sheer bravado
Leadership is hard. Convincing others and often ourselves that you have the answers to overcome long standing obstacles takes a combination of confidence, insight, and sheer bravado.
Finding ways to prevail, while bringing others along with you, is the core of being a good leader and the central tenant of minority leader.
I wrote this book with the experiences and challenges in mind that might hinder anyone who exists outside the structure of traditional white male power-woman, people of color, members of the
LGBTQ plus community, those without money, and millennials ready to make a change.
Source: Minority Leader, by Stacey Abrams, p.xxiii-xxiv
, Apr 24, 2018
Sometimes we fail, our task is to embrace the failure
Sometimes we're going to fail, and our task is to embrace the failure. Risk-taking inevitably leads to missteps or bad decisions. Unfortunately, admitting mistakes is a fundamental skill too few of us learn. In part, this is because we've been taught
it's wrong to be wrong. As children, making mistakes serves as training ground for adulthood. However, we also begin to crave the positive reinforcement of success and avoid the flush of embarrassment when we mess up. Over time, like laboratory mice,
our instinct toward pleasure overrides our desire to learn by picking the wrong option. Worse yet, the pursuit of success becomes justification for bad behavior, a necessary step toward power.
Failing forward, that is, taking risks and potentially
falling short, has a utility. Intervention, discovery, & empires are built on high degrees of failure. But screwing up serves as a form of mental cartography, which result in a map of what we should avoid and a preview of the terrain for better outcomes.
Source: Minority Leader, by Stacey Abrams, p.141-142
, Apr 24, 2018
When time not on our side, prepare for the long haul
Sometimes, winning takes longer than we hope. When time is not on our side. We have to settle in and prepare for the long haul. That requires setting expectations early for those who follow you, and adjusting to the challenges of a long fight.
Texas state senator Wendy Davis held the floor of the State Senate in 2014 for eleven hours to block a regulation to roll back reproductive choice. She beat the bill that night , but the GOP passed it in the following session, leading a newspaper to
declare she had won the battle but lost the war. The temporary win and latter loss seemed to agree with the headlines, but one of the aspects of holding power is understanding the long game-that battles up over time and creates space for others to
feel emboldened to act. And sometimes a simple act of defiance raises awareness and action, which in Davis' case meant the federal court decision that latter blocked parts of the bill from taking effect.
Source: Minority Leader, by Stacey Abrams, p.156-157
, Apr 24, 2018
Oppose monument to Ten Commandments at State Capitol
Legislative Summary: A BILL to provide for placement of a monument depicting the Ten Commandments at the Capitol Building. Subject to the availability of funds, there shall be placed within the capitol building or grounds a historic
granite monument depicting:
Gifts and donations from private individuals, organizations, or foundations shall be accepted.
- The Preamble to the Georgia Constitution;
- The part of the Declaration of Independence which states that men 'are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights'
- and the Ten Commandments.
Passed Senate 40-10-3 on March 12, vote #619; passed House 138-37-5 on March 3, Rep. Abrams voted NO; vote #663; signed by Gov. Deal April 29.
Source: Georgia legislative voting records: HB 702
, Mar 3, 2014
Endorsed Endorsed by Bernie Sanders/Our Revolution.
Abrams is endorsed by Bernie Sanders/Our Revolution endorsement list
Endorsements by Bernie Sanders' group, "Our Revolution," implying support of a progressive agenda and "organizing to win."
OR's self-description: "Bernie Sanders launched Our Revolution--America's leading grassroots-funded progressive political organizing group--to empower everyday Americans to stand up to the corporate interests that seek to manipulate our government for personal gain."
Source: Ballotpedia 2016-2022 endorsement list 2022-OR on Jan 1, 2022
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vs.Former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner(R)
vs.Radio Host Larry Elder(R)
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vs.State Auditor Mike Harmon(R)
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Incumbent Asa Hutchinson(R,term-limited)
vs.Trump Adviser Sarah Huckabee Sanders(R)
A.G. Leslie Rutledge(R,withdrew Nov.2021)
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Incumbent Doug Ducey(R,term-limited)
Mayor Marco Lopez(D)
vs.Former news anchor Kari Lake(R)
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vs.State Treasurer Kimberly Yee(R)
vs.State Rep.Aaron Lieberman(D)
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Incumbent Kim Reynolds(R)
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Incumbent J.B. Pritzker(D)
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vs.Harvard Professor Danielle Allen(D)
vs.State Sen.Ben Downing(D)
vs.State Sen.Sonia Chang-Diaz(D)
vs.A.G. Maura Healey(D)
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Attorney General Letitia James(D)
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Incumbent Kevin Stitt(R)
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