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?

Before exploring 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.

Legislative Outcome: 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

Other governors on Principles & Values: Stacey Abrams on other issues:
GA Gubernatorial:
Andrew Hunt
Brian Kemp
Casey Cagle
David Perdue
Hunter Hill
Jason Carter
Kandiss Taylor
Keisha Lance Bottoms
Nathan Deal
Shane Hazel
Vernon Jones
GA Senatorial:
Allen Buckley
David Perdue
Derrick Grayson
Doug Collins
Ed Tarver
Jason Carter
Jim Barksdale
John Barrow
Johnny Isakson
Jon Ossoff
Kelly Loeffler
Matt Lieberman
Raphael Warnock
Shane Hazel
Ted Terry
Teresa Tomlinson
Tom Price
Valencia Stovall
Gubernatorial Debates 2021:
CA Recall:
S.D.Mayor Kevin_Faulconer(R)
vs.Former Gov. nominee John Cox(R)
vs.Former U.S.Rep Doug Ose(R)
vs.Laura Smith(R)
vs.Former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner(R)
vs.Radio Host Larry Elder(R)
vs.Kevin Paffrath(D)
vs.Gavin Newsom(D)
NJ: Incumbent Phil Murphy(D)
vs.State Rep. Jack Ciattarelli(R)
vs.Candidate Hirsh Singh(R)
vs.GOP Chair Doug Steinhardt(R)
VA: Incumbent Ralph Northam(D,term-limited)
vs.Former Governor Terry McAuliffe(D)
vs.CEO Glenn Youngkin(R)
vs.A.G. Mark Herring(D)
vs.State Sen. Amanda Chase(I)
vs.Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax(D)
vs.State Rep. Jennifer Carroll Foy(D)
vs.State Rep. Lee Carter(D)
vs.State Sen. Jennifer McClellan(D)
vs.State Rep. Kirk Cox(R)
vs.CEO Pete Snyder(R)

Gubernatorial Debates 2023:
KY: Incumbent Andy Beshear(D)
vs.Former Gov. Matt Bevin(? R)

vs.Senator Rand Paul(? R)
vs.State Auditor Mike Harmon(R)
LA: Incumbent John Bel Edwards(D,term-limited)
vs.Biden Adviser Cedric Richmond(? D)
vs.Senator John Neely Kennedy(? R)
MS: Incumbent Tate Reeves(R)
vs.Bill Waller(R)

Gubernatorial Debates 2022:
AK: Incumbent Mike Dunleavy(R)
vs.Bill Walker(I)
vs.Les Gara(D)
vs.Billy Toien(L)
vs.State Rep. Chris Kurka(R)
AL: Incumbent Kay Ivey(R)
vs.Chris Countryman(D)
vs.Stacy Lee George(R)
vs.Ambassador Lynda Blanchard(R)
vs.State Sen. Malika Sanders-Fortier(D)
vs.Challenger Tim James(R)
AR: Incumbent Asa Hutchinson(R,term-limited)
vs.Trump Adviser Sarah Huckabee Sanders(R)
vs.A.G. Leslie Rutledge(R,withdrew Nov.2021)
vs.Ricky Dale Harrington(L)
vs.Anthony Bland(D)
AZ: Incumbent Doug Ducey(R,term-limited)
Mayor Marco Lopez(D)
vs.Former news anchor Kari Lake(R)
vs.Secretary of State Katie Hobbs(D)
vs.State Treasurer Kimberly Yee(R)
vs.U.S.Rep.Matt Salmon(R)
vs.Steve Gaynor(R)
vs.State Rep.Aaron Lieberman(D)
vs.Jorge Rivas(R)
vs.Karrin Taylor Robson(R)
CA: Incumbent Gavin Newsom(D)
vs.S.D.Mayor Kevin_Faulconer(R)
vs.Former Gov. nominee John Cox(R)
vs.Kevin Paffrath(D)
vs.State Sen. Brian Dahle(R)
CO: Incumbent Jared Polis(D)
vs.Mayor Greg Lopez(R)
vs.Heidi Ganahl(R)
CT: Incumbent Ned Lamont(D)
vs.Bob Stefanowski(? R)
FL: Incumbent Ron DeSantis(R)
vs.Former Gov.Charlie Crist(D)
vs.Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried(D)
vs.Annette Taddeo(D)
vs.Brian Moore(G)
GA: Incumbent Brian Kemp(R)
vs.Minority Leader Stacey Abrams(D)
vs.Senate candidate Shane Hazel(L)
vs.State Rep.Vernon Jones(R)
vs.2020 candidate Kandiss Taylor(R)
vs.Senator David Perdue(R)
HI: Incumbent David Ige(D,term-limited)
vs.Marissa Kerns(R)
vs.Lt.Gov.Josh Green(D)
vs.Vicky Cayetano(D)
vs.Paul Morgan(R)
vs.State Rep.Kirk Caldwell(D)
vs.U.S.Rep.Kai Kahele(D)
IA: Incumbent Kim Reynolds(R)
vs.Deidre DeJear(D)
vs.State Rep.Ras Smith(D)
ID: Incumbent Brad Little(R)
vs.Stephen Heidt(D)
vs.Raul Labrador(R)
vs.Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin(R)
vs.Ammon Bundy(R)
vs.Ed Humphreys(R)
IL: Incumbent J.B. Pritzker(D)
vs.State Sen.Darren Bailey(R)
vs.Paul Schimpf(R)
vs.Jesse Sullivan(R)
KS: Incumbent Laura Kelly(D)
vs.Jeff Colyer(R)
vs.State Sen.Derek Schmidt(R)
vs.Chase LaPorte(R)
Gubernatorial Debates 2022 (continued):
MA: Incumbent Charlie Baker(R)
vs.Lt.Gov.Karyn Polito(R)
vs.State Rep. Geoff Diehl(R)
vs.Harvard Professor Danielle Allen(D)
vs.State Sen.Ben Downing(D)
vs.State Sen.Sonia Chang-Diaz(D)
vs.Shiva Ayyadurai(I)
vs.A.G. Maura Healey(D)
MD: Incumbent Larry Hogan(R,term-limited)
vs.State Del.Robin Ficker(R) vs.State Del.Peter Franchot(D) vs.State Del.Kelly M. Schulz(R) vs.Secretary John B. King(D) vs.Ashwani Jain(D) vs.State A.G. Doug Gansler(D) vs.County Exec. Rushern Baker(D) vs.Secretary Thomas Perez(D) vs.Wes Moore(D) vs.Dan Cox(R)
ME: Incumbent Janet Mills(D)
vs.Former Gov. Paul LePage(R)
MI: Incumbent Gretchen Whitmer(D)
vs.Chief James Craig(R)
vs.Police Chief Tudor Dixon(R)
vs.Garrett Soldano(R)
vs.John E. James(? R)
MN: Incumbent Tim Walz(DFL)
vs.Mayor Mike Murphy(R)
vs.State Sen.Scott Jensen(R)
vs.Michelle Benson(R)
vs.Paul Gazelka(R)
NE: Incumbent Pete Ricketts(R,term-limited)
vs.U.S.Senator Bob Krist(R)
vs.Chuck Herbster(R)
vs.Jim Pillen(R)
vs.Brett Lindstrom(R)
vs.Carol Blood(D)
vs.State Sen. Theresa Thibodeau(R)
NH: Incumbent Chris Sununu(R)
vs.Dan Feltes(D)
vs.Karen Testerman(R)
NM: Incumbent Michelle Lujan Grisham(D)
vs.Commissioner Jay Block(R)
vs.State Rep.Rebecca Dow(R)
vs.Mark Ronchetti(R)
NV: Incumbent Steve Sisolak(D)
vs.A.G.Adam Laxalt(R)
vs.North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee(R)
vs.Dean Heller(R)
vs.Joe Lombardo(R)
vs.Mayor Michele Fiore(R)
NY: Incumbent Andrew Cuomo(D,resigned)
vs.Acting Gov.Kathy Hochul(D)
vs.Rob Astorino(R)
vs.Andrew Giuliani(R)
vs.US.Rep.Lee Zeldin(R)
vs.Tom Suozzi(D)
vs.Attorney General Letitia James(D)
OH: Incumbent Mike DeWine(R)
vs.Former Rep.Jim Renacci(R)
vs.Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley(D)
vs.Mayor John Cranley(D)
OK: Incumbent Kevin Stitt(R)
vs.State Sen. Ervin Yen(R)
vs.Connie Johnson(D)
vs.Joy Hofmeister(D)
vs.Natalie Bruno(L)
OR: Incumbent Kate Brown(D,term-limited)
vs.Gov. nominee Bud Pierce(R)
vs.Paul Romero(R)
vs.Casey Kulla(D)
vs.Kerry McQuisten(R)
vs.Tina Kotek(D)
vs.Nicholas Kristof(D)
vs.Tobias Read(D)
vs.State Rep. Christine Drazan(R)
PA: Incumbent Tom Wolf(D,term-limited)
vs.U.S.Rep. Lou Barletta(R)
vs.Commissioner Joe Gale(R)
vs.A.G.Josh Shapiro(D)
vs.William McSwain(R)
vs.U.S.Rep.Melissa Hart(R)
vs.State Sen.Scott Martin(R)
vs.State Sen. Scott Martin(R)
vs.State Sen. Doug Mastriano(R)
RI: Incumbent Gina Raimondo(D,to Cabinet)
vs.Gov. Dan McKee(D)
vs.Secy.Matt Brown(D)
vs.Mayor Allan Fung(R ?)
vs.Luis-Daniel Munoz(D)
vs.RI Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea(D)
vs.Seth Magainer(D)
vs.Helena Foulkes(D)
SC: Incumbent Henry McMaster(R)
vs.US.Rep.Joe Cunningham(D)
vs.State senator Mia McLeod(D)
SD: Incumbent Kristi Noem(R)
vs.State Rep. Billie Sutton(? D)
vs.Speaker Steven Haugaard(R)
TN: Incumbent Bill Lee(R)
vs.Carnita Atwater(D)
vs.J B Smiley(D)
TX: Incumbent Greg Abbott(R)
vs.Beto O`Rourke(D)
vs.Chad Prather(R)
vs.State Sen.Don Huffines(R)
vs.U.S.Rep. Allen West(R)
vs.Deidre Gilbert(D)
VT: Incumbent Phil Scott(R)
(no prospective opponents yet)
WI: Incumbent Tony Evers(D)
vs.CEO Jonathan Wichmann(R)
vs.Rebecca Kleefisch(R)
vs.State Rep. Timothy Ramthun(R)
WY: Incumbent Mark Gordon(R)
vs.Rex Rammell(R)
vs.Minority Leader Chris Rothfuss(? D)
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Page last updated: May 19, 2022