GA State Representative Stacey Abrams
Occupation: GA House Minority Leader
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Follow her on Twitter at @StaceyAbrams
About Stacey Abrams
Stacey Abrams is the House Minority Leader for the Georgia General Assembly and State Representative for the 89th House District. She is the first woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly and is the first African-American to lead in the House of Representatives.
One of six children, Rep. Abrams grew up in Mississippi with working-class parents who taught them the value of public service and civic engagement at a young age. Rep Abrams is an entrepreneur, founding several small businesses; and she is a romance novelist under the pen name Selena Montgomery.
In 2010, Stacey became House Minority Leader and has led the caucus to promote and pass legislation to increase educational opportunity, promote economic security and improve the quality of life for all Georgians.
Higher Heights: What inspired you to want to work in the political arena?
Rep. Abrams: My parents raised us to be community stewards and emphasized the importance of civic engagement. Government is a critical part of meeting that responsibility for service, and I am honored to have a role to play.
Higher Heights: What advice do you have for Black women that want to spark change?
Rep. Abrams: From the ballot box to the halls of state capitols and Congress, more Black women must be at the decision-making table to affect the change. We cannot wait to be invited act; we must lead the way by raising issues, running for office and owning the power that comes with being a Black woman.
Higher Heights: What do you feel is the single most pressing issue facing Black women today and why?
Rep. Abrams: Economic insecurity. Despite leading all women in labor force participation rates, Black women are more likely than any group in America to work for poverty-level wages, making us the most likely of all Americans to be among the working poor. This is a result of a doubly-disadvantaged wage gap (black women are paid, on average, just 60 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men) and over-representation in low-wage fields. We not only need to eliminate the wage gap, we must reform the tax and economic policies that permit the undervaluation of our work and the discriminatory tax policies that preserve poverty and economic inequality. With a full engagement of African American women in the economy, families and communities will thrive.
Higher Heights: Tell us about a woman mentor that has helped you on your journey?
Rep. Abrams: My mother and my older sister were incredible mentors in my life. My mother is the most extraordinary person I know. She came from a difficult background, and everything she accomplished in her life, she was the first in her family to achieve it- she never had a road map for her accomplishments, and expected the best from my siblings and me. She is incredibly thoughtful, determined, and demanding in the best way possible, and she continues to be my mentor.