Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams knows Forsyth County’s reputation as a conservative stronghold but said that wasn’t going to stop her from coming to town.
After addressing voters at a rally at Fowler Park on Wednesday featuring a number of Democratic candidates for federal and state races, Abrams took time to speak with the Forsyth County News on her tour bus, which she is taking around the state as part of the “We Are Georgia” tour.
During the rally, Abrams noted “Forsyth County might be a little dark red, but there are some blue spots all over,” and later said in the interview that she felt her focus on expanding Medicaid in the state, bringing good jobs and good education “regardless of zip code or family income” impacted everyone in Georgia.
“I come to all these places because we win elections by bringing together people, especially those who are unlikely voters, and it does absolutely no good to skip over communities because you can't win everyone,” she said. “We're never going to win everyone, but you want to win enough votes in every place that we can pull together a coalition, and we can win this election overall.”
After her stop in Forsyth, the tour, in its ninth day, continued to Gainesville, and she said it would keep going until election day.
“It's been extraordinary,” Abrams said. “We’ve been to 36 counties, I believe, at this point, in this round of the tour, and in every community, we are seeing more and more people showing up, a lot of folks who haven't previously been involved in politics and one of the things I want to very clearly communicate is that it's about winning voters.
“It’s about winning people, not just the communities they live in because that's how we build the right process for engaging everyone in the state.”
Abrams grew up in Gulfport, Miss., before her family relocated to Atlanta for her parents, who were United Methodist ministers, to study divinity at Emory University.
She graduated from the former Avondale High School in DeKalb County and has earned degrees from Spelman College, the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas and Yale Law School.
Abrams is a former member of the Georgia House of Representatives, serving as minority leader from January 2011 through July 2017. She represented the state’s 84th District from 2007 until 2013 and the 89th District from 2013 until 2017.
She is the first black woman chosen as a major party gubernatorial candidate in U.S. history.
“Without exception, I talk about education, I talk about creating good jobs, I talk about health care and Medicaid expansion,” she said. “And no matter where I am, no matter the composition of the community, these are the issues that matter and these are the issues that resonate for all of Georgia.”
For education, Abrams said she wants to see improvements at all school levels, which she refers to as “cradle to career.”
“That means investing in early childhood education, doing wraparound services for kids in our K-12 system and having pathways to post-secondary, including apprenticeships, technical college and debt-free college,” she said.
She also has plans to grow the economy through tax credits, increased numbers of apprentices and investing in infrastructure.
“It's about creating new jobs in the state of Georgia,” she said, “especially investing in our small businesses with a $10 million small business financing fund creating advanced energy jobs, using renewable energy to create between 25,000 and 45,000 jobs and then protecting the jobs we have by making sure people are making a good living without having to work more than one job.”
Abrams said that if she is elected as the next governor, her biggest goal is making sure Medicaid expansion is part of the state’s approved budget next year.
“Everyone in the state of Georgia will benefit from Medicaid expansion because it will reduce everyone's costs, it will protect pre-existing conditions and it will guarantee that in the state of Georgia we have real access to health care,” Abrams said.