Stacey Yvonne Abrams born December 9, 1973, is an American politician, lawyer, voting rights activist, and author who served in the Georgia House of Representatives from, serving as minority leader from 2011 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, Abrams founded Fair Fight Action, an organization to address voter suppression, in 2018. A voting rights activist, her efforts have been widely credited with boosting voter turnout in Georgia, including in the 2020 presidential election, when Joe Biden narrowly won the state, and in Georgia’s 2020–2021 regularly scheduled and special U.S. Senate elections, which gave Democrats control of the Senate.
Abrams supports abortion rights, advocates for expanded gun control, and opposes proposals for stricter voter ID laws. She has argued that some implementations of voter ID laws disenfranchise minorities and the poor, but doesn’t oppose voter ID laws in principle and supports voters having to verify their identities. Abrams pledged to oppose legislation similar to the religious liberty bill that Governor Deal vetoed in 2016.
Criminal justice reform
Abrams supports criminal justice reform in the form of no cash bail for poor defendants, abolishing the death penalty, and decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana. She also supports community policing to keep communities safe as part of criminal justice reform.
Abrams would like to increase spending on public education. She opposes private school vouchers, instead advocating improvements to the public education system. She supports smaller class sizes, more school counselors, protected pensions, better pay for teachers, and expanded early childhood education.
In her campaign for governor, Abrams said her top priority was Medicaid expansion. She cited research showing that Medicaid expansion improved health care access for low-income residents and made hospitals in rural locations financially viable. She also created a plan to address Georgia’s high maternal mortality rate.
Abrams is a strong supporter of Israel and rejects “the demonization and delegitimization of Israel represented” by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, which she has called “anti-Semitic.” But she voted against Georgia’s anti-BDS legislation that punishes companies that choose to boycott Israel or Israeli-occupied territories. Abrams wrote, “Boycotts have been a critical part of social justice in American history, particularly for African-Americans. As the Anti-Defamation League notes, the origin of BDS is based in the anti-apartheid movement.”
Honors and awards
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. In 2014 Governing Magazine named her a Public Official of the Year, an award that recognizes state and local official for outstanding accomplishments. Abrams was recognized as one of “12 Rising Legislators to Watch” by the same publication in 2012 and one of the “100 Most Influential Georgians” by Georgia Trend for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
EMILY’s List recognized Abrams as the inaugural recipient of the Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award in 2014. She was selected as an Aspen Rodel Fellow and a Hunt-Kean Fellow. In 2014, Abrams was named 11th most influential African American aged 25 to 45 by The Root, rising to first place in 2019. 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 Legislator of the Year by the DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce.
Abrams 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. She is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Next Generation Fellow of the American Assembly, an American Marshall Memorial Fellow, a Salzburg Seminar–Freeman Fellow on U.S.-East Asian Relations, and a Yukos Fellow for U.S.–Russian Relations.