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Teen Interview with Gubernatorial Candidate Stacey Abrams
Stacey Abrams is currently running on the Democratic ticket for Governor of Georgia. She has agreed to an interview with Teen Ink contributor anuthereal regarding her stance on some big issues. We thank both Ms. Abrams and anuthereal for their time and contribution to Teen Ink.
As a woman in politics as well as the first black female nominee for governor, do you feel that you are treated differently? What types of issues have you faced as a female and person of color in the political world?
When I was elected as House Minority Leader, I became the first woman to lead a caucus in either chamber of the Georgia legislature. Despite my position of leadership, some wanted to make it a rule that I, as Leader, could not go to the Speaker of the House’s office without being escorted by a male colleague. They did not believe I could handle a meeting with the Speaker alone.
Because of my ability to negotiate across the aisle, I secured a transportation funding package, enacted criminal justice reform with current Governor Nathan Deal, stopped one of the largest tax hikes on working Georgia families, saved Georgia’s HOPE scholarship, prevented a Republican supermajority in the House and, ultimately, proved to my colleagues that I was more than equipped to serve in this senior legislative role.
As more and more women and people of color challenge our society’s outdated expectations, the mainstream understanding of what a “leader” looks like shifts and changes.
I am proud to be running in a year that will be remembered as a watershed year for representation in our state and in our nation. I know that we will inspire a new generation of leaders and set a clear example of how to lead.
It seems, in my opinion, that many Georgians oppose abortion under any circumstance; what is your viewpoint on women’s health rights?
In Georgia, half of all counties do not have an OB-GYN provider, and 64 counties do not have a pediatrician. Georgia also has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country. As Governor, it is my responsibility to address the lack of women’s health coverage across our state.
I plan on addressing this in a few ways. Most importantly, I will expand Medicaid in Georgia, which would expand care to cover 500,000 more Georgians and make sure that women in rural areas have stable access to a hospital. To address the lack of OB-GYNS and pediatricians, I will leverage state and federal programs to encourage more doctors and personnel to practice in underserved areas.
From the start of my time in the legislature and in my race for Governor, I have been a vocal champion for the full range of reproductive health care services, pay equity for women, and paid family leave for all workers. As Governor, I am committed to ensuring that women receive adequate care in our state.
You recently accepted the Public Service Award from Tabitha’s House for your dedication to protecting victims of human and sex trafficking. There have been strides in Georgia’s legislature to decrease the effects of sex trafficking on our communities like House Bill 200 that increased penalties and improved training of law enforcement to better handle these situations. If elected Governor, do you plan to shed light on this issue, and what ideas do you have to protect young adults from the devastating effects sex trafficking has had in Georgia?
As a state legislator, I consistently worked across the aisle to pass legislation that comprehensively strengthened laws and increased penalties against human trafficking.
I have a longstanding record of working to protect Georgia’s children, and I have always been a strong supporter of survivors of sexual assault and abuse.
As Governor, I will be committed to finding permanent solutions to end human trafficking in our state. I plan to work closely with groups like Tabitha’s House to build upon their ongoing outreach, education, treatment, and coordination efforts that support survivors and to hold perpetrators accountable. I will also move forward with the Safe Harbor Commission and Fund that voters approved in 2016 and ensure that Human Trafficking Notices are posted, training opportunities exist throughout our state, and child sex trafficking victims are not treated as criminals.
Each day I go to school, and there is a nagging fear in the back of my mind that something bad might happen. What have you done in the past to support gun control, how does that translate into your current stance regarding gun control, and what steps do you intend on taking if you are elected?
I am the only gubernatorial candidate who has consistently opposed laws to weaken gun safety in our state. The safety of the learning environment must be our highest priority, as the ability to learn and to educate are wholly impacted by the security of our schools. Guns, from college campuses to elementary school classrooms, pose a disruption to the learning environment. For that, I will continue to oppose "campus carry" legislation and will push to arm teachers with resources, not weapons.
As Governor, I would work towards bi-partisan commonsense gun reform to ensure that individuals who would like to purchase firearms undergo a background check. Gun safety measures are also critical to protect gun owners and their families, including training and storage.
I have hunters in my family, and I learned to shoot and to respect the power and responsibility of gun ownership. We can protect the 2nd Amendment while also promoting policies that keep firearms out of the wrong hands, reduce the prevalence of gun accidents and suicide, and address critical issues like mental health care access.
Do you think the Georgia public education sector has been neglected and/or underfunded over the past few decades? If elected, do you plan to make changes to the distribution of tax revenue that directly affect public education within the state?
Too often in this state does a family’s income or zip code determine if their child has access to quality public education. Even now, too many children cannot access the education they require from their local schools, especially if they have special needs.
As Georgia’s Public Education Governor, I understand ensuring access to quality public education for all children – no matter who they are or where they live – is fundamental to building a state where every family has the freedom and opportunity to thrive. Under my leadership, we will prevent the siphoning off of even more public school dollars to private interests. I am committed to placing our children’s success over private interests collecting profit.
I will also support rural public schools as they work through challenges from struggling tax bases to teacher recruitment to student transportation costs. I committed to partnering with rural communities and educators to meet these challenges. The revision of the funding formula must help all school districts, regardless of their local tax base, truly thrive. This is in the best interest of all Georgians.