Stacey Yvonne Abrams (born December 9, 1973) is an American politician, lawyer, and novelist who served as minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, she is her party’s nominee in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election. She is the first black female major party gubernatorial nominee in the United States.
After graduating from law school, Abrams worked as a tax attorney at the Sutherland Asbill & Brennan law firm in Atlanta, with a focus on tax-exempt organizations, health care and public finance. In 2010, while a member of the Georgia General Assembly, Abrams co-founded and served as the senior vice president of NOW Corp. (formerly NOWaccount Network Corporation), a financial services firm.
She co-founded Nourish, Inc., a beverage company with a focus on infants and toddlers, and is CEO of Sage Works, a legal consulting firm, that has represented clients including the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA.
She represented House District 89, which includes portions of the City of Atlanta and unincorporated DeKalb County, covering the communities of Candler Park, Cedar Grove, Columbia, Druid Hills, Edgewood, Highland Park, Kelley Lake, Kirkwood, Lake Claire, South DeKalb, Toney Valley, and Tilson. Abrams served on the following committees: Appropriations, Ethics, Judiciary Non-Civil, Rules and Ways & Means.
Her first major action as Minority Leader was her cooperation with Republican Governor Nathan Deal’s administration to reform the HOPE Scholarship Program. Abrams co-sponsored the 2011 legislation that preserved the HOPE program by decreasing the scholarship amount paid to Georgia students and funded a 1% low-interest loan program for students.
According to TIME magazine, Abrams “can credibly boast of having single-handedly stopped the largest tax increase in Georgia history.” In 2011, Abrams argued that a Republican proposal to cut income taxes while increasing a tax on cable service would lead to net increase in taxes paid by most people. Abrams performed an analysis of the bill, showed that 82% of Georgians would see net tax increases, and then left a copy of the analysis on the desk of every house legislator. Subsequently, the bill failed.
As house minority leader, Abrams worked with Deal on criminal-justice reforms that reduced prison costs without increasing crime. She also worked with Republicans on the state’s biggest-ever public-transportation funding package.
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, she was named a Public Official of the Year by Governing Magazine, an award which 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. She was also named as #11 on The Root 100 by The Root. 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 as Legislator of the Year by the DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce.
She 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. Abrams won Grand Champion for showing 1000 lb. heifer Bessie at the 2012 Legislative Livestock Showdown at the Georgia National Fair.
Abrams 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.
Abrams received the Stevens Award for Outstanding Legal Contributions and the Elmer Staats Award for Public Service, both national honors presented by the Harry S. Truman Foundation. She was also a 1994 Harry S. Truman Scholar.
In 2001, Abrams was named one of “30 Leaders of the Future” by Ebony Magazine. In 2004, she was named to Georgia Trend’s “40 Under 40” list, and the Atlanta Business Chronicle named Abrams to its Top 50 Under 40 list. In 2006, she was named a Georgia Rising Star by Atlanta Magazine and Law & Politics Magazine.
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