Avondale grad hopes to become first Black female governor

Avondale Estates graduate Stacey Abrams announced she would run for governor of Georgia. If successful, she would become the first Black female governor. Photos provided.

Former DeKalb County resident and Avondale Estates High School graduate Stacey Abrams said the time has come to change the political landscape in Georgia.  

Abrams, who graduated as valedictorian from Avondale Estates High School in 1991, formally announced she would run for the open seat in the state’s highest office. 

If successful, Abrams would become the first Black female governor in the United States.   

“[A win] would demonstrate that difference is not a barrier. Identity has become a curse sometimes, but I celebrate it as an African-American woman,” Abrams said. “It’s emboldened me to try in places I’m not expected to be. If I’m successful, I can uplift families in Georgia.” 

Abrams has become accustomed to making history in Georgia. In 2010, she became the first woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly and the first Black to lead in the House of Representatives. 

Abrams said she’s tried to make strides in the state for “forgotten” voters and people of color. She created the New Georgia Project, which registered more than 200,000 voters between 2014 and 2016.

 “I’m running because I believe that Georgia has a pathway to freedom and opportunity, but so many have been left behind,” Abrams said. “For too long our political leadership in Atlanta and the governor’s mansion have moved things forward but haven’t reached everyone. I want to include everyone.”

 Gov. Nathan Deal’s seat will be open in 2018. As of June 9, three Republicans announced they would run for governor.  

Abrams said the political landscape in Georgia has shifted in recent years. Some were surprised by the success of Democrat Jon Ossoff, who’s running in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, after he entered a runoff with Republican Karen Handel, Abrams said. 

With the changing demographics in Georgia, some predict the Peach State will eventually turn blue, Abrams said. 

“If you look at the last four midterm election cycles…we were able to cut the [Republicans’] margin of victory in half. That change has been driven by demography. We have to go to forgotten voters and give them a reason to engage,” she said.  

Abrams said the time she spent in DeKalb County’s school system has helped prepare her for the upcoming challenge. She hopes she can make a difference.

 “I am running for governor of Georgia because we must build a future for our state where people can succeed — not just survive,” she said.

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