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Stacey Abrams for governor
Stacey Abrams grew up in Gulfport, Mississippi, one of six children whose parents had three tenets: go to church, go to school, and take care of each other. Her father, a shipyard worker, and mother, a college librarian, faced financial hardships of their own, yet they taught their children the value of service to others. No matter how much they struggled to make ends meet, Stacey and her siblings were taught that someone always had less and that it was their job to serve that person. Her parents were also steadfast in seeking the best possible educational opportunities – both for their children and themselves. Education and service, both which remain central to Stacey’s identity today, were the impetus for the Abrams family’s move to Georgia.
Stacey’s parents became United Methodist ministers after pursuing graduate studies in Divinity at Emory University. Stacey and her younger siblings attended DeKalb County public schools. She is a graduate of Avondale High School with degrees from Spelman College, the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, and Yale Law School.
A Relentless Changemaker Regardless of Title
Stacey did not win her groundbreaking 2018 campaign for governor, but she did not quit. She got right back to work because she understood that she didn’t need the title of governor to make a difference in the lives of Georgians. In between her two campaigns for governor, Stacey:
- Helped small businesses get the financing they needed to stay afloat
- Paid off the medical debt of 68,000 Georgians
- Raised funds to provide $1,000 checks to 100,000 families in need
- Helped expand access to COVID-19 tests and vaccines, especially in rural Georgia
- Advocated Medicaid expansion for 500,000+ Georgians and creation of 60,000+ Georgia jobs
- Convinced film executives to continue local productions and keep jobs in Georgia
- Delivered food and supplies to under-resourced food banks
- Supported families and communities that lost loved ones to gun violence
- Organized business leaders to take action on voting rights and the right to choose
- Developed progressive policy solutions for Georgia and other Southern states
- Campaigned and fundraised for progressive causes and Democrats in Georgia and beyond
- Founded top national voting rights organization focused on legislation, litigation and advocacy
- Launched and funded a 20-state program to recruit and train voter protection teams
- Provided funding to two dozen grassroots organizations mobilizing voters of color in Georgia
- Played a prominent role in Georgia Democrats’ historic 2020 and 2021 runoff victories
- Increased participation of hard-to-count populations for the 2020 U.S. Census
- Installed 100+ wireless internet stations across Georgia in under-connected communities
- Advanced policies to improve economic security, healthcare access, and environmental justice
- Re-watched episodes from the entire Star Trek franchise and Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Authored several new works of fiction and non-fiction
Working for Georgians Every Day
Through multiple leadership positions in the small business, nonprofit and government sectors, Stacey has opened the gates of opportunity to others across Georgia. Her organizations have lent a hand in rural Georgia by installing wireless internet stations in more than 100 public locations across the state, connecting Georgians to services, virtual school and potential employers. She and staff traveled to neglected communities to expand access to Covid vaccines and tests.
In the early days of the pandemic, as many families were without income and waiting on unemployment benefits or Covid stimulus checks, Stacey joined other leaders to raise funds for $1,000 cash transfers directly delivered to 100,000 families in need, including Georgians. And while Republicans continued to deny more than 500,000 Georgians access to Medicaid, she raised funds to pay off the medical debt of 68,000 Georgians.
As a legislator, Stacey understood that progress for Georgians in need required greater civic engagement, particularly from communities of color and marginalized groups. She launched statewide organizations to make sure that all Georgians – regardless of race, income or background – are able to register to vote, cast a ballot and have their ballot recorded properly and to be counted in the U.S. Census.
Stacey is a New York Times bestselling fiction and nonfiction author, and she leads a Georgia-based production company with several projects produced or in development. The company’s first film, All In: The Fight for Democracy, made the 2020 Oscar shortlist for best documentary. She serves as a mentor for young Georgia creatives and is a staunch advocate for the workers in Georgia’s vibrant film and television industry.
A Bipartisan Consensus Builder
Stacey defines success in public service by delivering results for people regardless of their geography, ideology or background. Unwavering in her support for working people, Stacey worked with anti-union corporations to stop discrimination against Georgia’s LGBTQ+ community. She’s unapologetically pro-choice, but was able to coordinate with anti-choice legislators to pass criminal justice reform.
As the top Democrat in the Georgia House of Representatives, she brokered compromises for progress on transportation and infrastructure. Her bipartisan efforts were instrumental in saving the HOPE Scholarship and universal pre-K as these programs faced potential elimination during the Great Recession. She passed legislation and increased budget allocations to improve the welfare of grandparents and other family members raising children who would otherwise be placed in foster care.
Former Governor Nathan Deal, a Republican, said of Stacey, “she demonstrated the kind of leadership that you hope people would do regardless of party labels.” She has received recognition from numerous nonpartisan organizations, including the Georgia Municipal Association, the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia, the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals, the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Georgia), the NAACP, the National Urban League and Planned Parenthood. And she won Grand Champion in the Legislative Livestock Roundup for showing a 4-H sponsored heifer named Bessie.
An Executive Ready to Lead
Stacey is a Yale-trained tax attorney, entrepreneur, writer and small business owner. She co-founded NOW Account, a financial services firm that helps Georgia small businesses access capital, grow their operations and create jobs. She is also the CEO of Sage Works Productions, a production company in Georgia with several projects under development, including with CBS Studios and NBC/Universal. In her various leadership roles, Stacey has hired and employed Georgians in every region of the state, including hundreds of young people beginning their careers.
Her executive experience includes founding and implementing strategic plans for New Georgia Project, focused on voter registration; Fair Fight Action and Fair Fight PAC, focused on protecting voting rights; and Fair Count, dedicated to meaningful participation in the Census and civic engagement. Each of these organizations is thriving today and making progress on behalf of the people of Georgia. She also founded and served as executive director of the Southern Economic Advancement Project, which develops and promotes policy solutions to challenges in Georgia and neighboring Southern states.
In 2010, Stacey became House Democratic Leader in the Georgia General Assembly, the first woman to lead either party in the state legislature and the first Black Georgian to lead in the House of Representatives. As Democratic Leader, she stopped legislation that would have created the largest tax increase in Georgia history, keeping more money in the pockets of our families. She is ready to lead Georgia into its next and greatest chapter.
Opportunity and success in Georgia shouldn’t be determined by zip code, background or power. By tackling the issues that matter the most to Georgians, we can help everyone thrive and work together to create a stronger Georgia – one that works for all. That’s what I’ve prioritized my entire life, and it’s how I will govern. Here is the beginning of my policy platform for One Georgia.
I have a vision for Georgia where prosperity is measured by more than how well business is doing. We need to judge our economy by how many of our families can thrive. Can they afford to start a small business, send a child to camp, take a vacation and not worry about a blown tire or a new prescription? For too many Georgians, the answer is no.
As Governor, I will steer Georgia to becoming a state where everyone can move up and move forward, to succeed—not just survive.
Georgia families deserve a leader who will invest in every person and who has the economic vision and the experience to increase prosperity, lift families from poverty, invest in small businesses and rural development, reduce income inequality and ensure a fair and inclusive economy for all Georgians.
I am an entrepreneur who has helped small businesses in Georgia access capital to create and retain thousands of jobs. As a nonprofit leader, I have employed hundreds of Georgians across the state. During my tenure as Georgia House Minority Leader, I developed and promoted policy solutions to serve our families, and I defeated a Republican tax hike that would have been the single largest tax increase in Georgia history.
I have the experience to build a fair, thriving economy where every hardworking family has the chance to succeed and thrive. My Georgia Economic Mobility Plan will grow the economy for Georgians and focus on jobs and wages, rural revitalization, small business investment and economic justice.
Our state’s economy has left too many people behind, and the next governor must ensure that all working Georgians enjoy a decent standard of living. Doing so is both a moral necessity and a fundamental building block of a strong economy. To guarantee that more Georgians can take care of themselves and their families, we must stop waiting for change and create it ourselves.
Georgia Earned Income Tax Credit: Create a refundable tax credit that will let more than 1 million working families keep an average of $280 more of their hard-earned wages, with the greatest impact in rural counties.
Cradle to Career Savings Program: Invest in every child born in Georgia with a savings account they can use for higher education, housing, or starting a business, which invests money locally and builds opportunity for Georgia families.
Increase Disability Protections: Advance economic security for disabled Georgians by ending the practice of subminimum wages and defend disabled Georgians by enforcing fair wage payments.
Close the Skills Gap: Partner with educators, employers and nonprofit organizations to identify and promote successful adult literacy initiatives and to develop employability skills programs at every level of our educational system.
Jobs and Wages
The foundation of a thriving economy is the ability of every Georgian to find a good job and earn a decent living, take care of their families and survive a catastrophic event knowing that their government is a partner in – not an obstacle to – recovery.
End Wage Theft and Misclassification: Protect Georgia workers from employers who refuse to meet their obligations, costing Georgia families $300 million. We will hold employers accountable for exploiting and underpaying their workers. We will also crack down on employers who wrongly classify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying employer taxes and a fair wage.
Fairly Invest in Infrastructure: Georgia will receive billions in federal funds for infrastructure, but right now, the powerful will be first in line for contracts, jobs and projects in their communities. My administration will create a transparent, equitable distribution of infrastructure funds across the state, in which citizens can track how and where funds are spent – and who is making the decisions about where progress is made.
Increase Apprenticeships: Work with technical colleges, small businesses and unions to generate more than 20,000 additional apprenticeships in fields ranging from building trades and construction to coding and healthcare.
Protect Workers: Secure legislative and regulatory changes such as paid sick leave, expansion of unemployment insurance and the repeal of preemption laws that prevent local communities from taking actions to support workers.
Buy Georgia Products: Encourage state agencies, projects and contractors to buy more Georgia products and employ more Georgia workers in order to support our local economy.
Georgians in all 159 counties—not just metropolitan areas— deserve access to high wage job opportunities, excellent schools and world-class health care.
Invest Equitably in Broadband and Affordable Access: The federal government is deploying millions in broadband infrastructure for Georgia’s rural areas, but every county should have a chance to participate. My administration will monitor how funds are targeted to make sure all rural counties have a fair shot at receiving investment. We will also work with the private sector and local communities to guarantee high-speed Internet access is affordable to many of the hundreds of thousands of households that are currently unserved.
Comprehensive Rural Education Funding Formula: Expand educational opportunities for children in rural counties by applying a funding formula that recognizes the challenges faced by rural communities, attracting talented teachers with competitive pay, creating STEAM after-school programs, funding transportation and resources and working with local agencies and nonprofits to provide more quality childcare options in underserved areas.
Save Rural Hospitals and Create Thousands of Jobs: Expand Medicaid to support rural hospitals, attract medical professionals to underserved communities and increase the number of medical apprenticeships in rural areas. Medicaid expansion will create more than 60,000 new jobs in rural Georgia, including construction, retail, healthcare and services while offering access to coverage for more than 500,000 additional Georgians. Local counties will also save millions on uncompensated care – the cost of Georgians who can’t pay their bills – money that can go into vital community needs.
Small Business Investment
Small businesses are the heart of our state’s economy and a crucial driver of economic mobility both for business owners and for workers. Georgia has more than 1.1 million small businesses, which account for 99.6% of all Georgia businesses. Approximately 1.7 million Georgians are employed by small businesses, and that is nearly 43% of Georgia’s employees. As a small business owner and entrepreneur, we need a governor who understands the barriers to small business success and is willing to invest in scaling our economy starting here.
Small Business Capital Growth Fund: Invest $10 million in small business financing programs that do not duplicate existing, hard-to-use programs and help grow customers and commerce. Develop partnerships with private lenders and CDFIs to multiply investments, and support technical assistance and training programs to help business owners start, grow and scale their companies. Incentivize greater private sector financial support by directing the Department of Banking and Finance to evaluate banks’ activities in terms of outreach, financial investment, and participation in technical assistance programs.
Entrepreneurship Learner’s Permit: Establish incubation program through the Georgia Department of Economic Development to assist individuals seeking to form new businesses in the state. This program would support first-time entrepreneurs by providing waivers for filing, permitting or licensing fees associated with the formation of new businesses and provide education and training for prospective permit holders and current permit holders.
Georgia Commercial Investment Program: Use Georgia’s purchasing power to support small businesses, including those owned by women, people of color, veterans, the disabled and those in rural areas, by directing the Department of Administrative Services to establish and monitor targets for purchasing by all state agencies.
Georgia Supplier Diversity Initiative: Direct all state agencies, when procuring goods and services, to actively seek out and support new suppliers owned by groups that are underrepresented in business ownership, including women, people of color, veterans, and the disabled. Require major state contractors to implement their own programs to encourage supplier diversity.
Georgia Commercial Investment Program: Use Georgia’s purchasing power to support small businesses by directing the Department of Administrative Services to establish and monitor targets for purchasing by all state agencies. Provide technical assistance to small businesses to help them secure and fulfill state purchasing contracts.
Georgia must continue to invest in a range of transportation services across the state. Improving transportation is a critical component to strengthen our state’s economy. It is a key driver of social and economic mobility for business owners, workers and families.
- Enhance Capacity for Growth in Transportation: Invest in transit through bonding capacity; grant general fund incentives where appropriate; and include transit as a permitted use of motor fuel taxes, without sacrificing our current efforts on roads, bridges and economic development projects.
- Expand transportation options: Promote economic development and connect more people to job opportunities by investing in long-distance passenger rail lines. Partner with local communities to expand and coordinate commuter rail and bus networks, particularly in rural transit deserts.
- Build Infrastructure: Invest in transportation infrastructure that workers and businesses need to succeed throughout Georgia, especially in areas that are currently underserved.
- Increase Accessible Transportation Options: Champion more reliable, efficient non-emergency transportation to ensure seniors, disabled people and others can get to medical appointments, school and work. Promote local efforts to launch volunteer driver programs.
As Georgia’s next governor, I will prioritize access to childcare and education for all children – no matter who they are or where they live. A strong early start and fully funded public education are fundamental to building a state where every family has the freedom and opportunity to thrive.
Children in Georgia currently lag behind on a variety of metrics, including access to services and graduation rates. Our children deserve support from cradle to career, which begins with a high-quality education that gives them opportunities to reach their dreams. Georgia has the resources to expand access to childcare and pre-k, fully fund education and expand HOPE grants, but those currently in power refuse to do the right thing.
We are ready to imagine more for our children than simply an adequate education and we are ready to elect leaders committed to making excellence a reality.
Support Teachers and Build Georgia’s Teacher Pipeline
Across the state, we are letting our children down by not fully support public education and our educators. Educators are feeling the pressures of growing workloads, insufficient support and inadequate compensation. School administrators and teachers grapple with increasing teacher vacancies in teaching positions with no end in sight.
When educators are highly valued and fairly compensated for their commitment to education, academic outcomes improve, our children are better served. Retaining educators increases student engagement and builds parental trust and positive rapport between students and teachers. We must better serve students by prioritizing their education and investing in educators, administrators, students and support staff, and we can do it all without raising taxes.
- Make Georgia a leader in teacher pay
Low wages force teachers to drop out of the profession or leave the state, and fewer teachers are entering the profession due to the long-term lack of financial growth. As governor, I will:
- Raise the minimum teacher pay. Increase the state base salary for teachers from $39,092 to $50,000.
- Raise the current average of $62,500 to an average of $73,500. This move alone will shift Georgia from 21st in the nation in teacher salaries to the top 10.
- Support living wages and advancement. Education support professionals (ESPs), as well as professional development, will receive aid in advancement in the education workforce.
- Support kids by strengthening school-parent partnerships
No teacher or school should live in fear of sanctions for teaching an accurate history or having meaningful class dialogues. As governor, I will:
- Oppose legislation that drives a wedge between parents and teachers. Schools and parents work together in partnership and share a common interest in growing and educating children.
- Overturn legislation that devalues teachers’ professional judgment and expertise as educators.
- Increase the number of teachers entering the profession:
Georgia has a teacher recruitment crisis. The number of college students choosing to teach has dropped significantly with only 3,800 people completing a teaching degree in Georgia in 2019. We need long-term, meaningful investments in teachers and their recruitment and retention to get the best results for students. As governor, I will:
- Create a rural teacher pipeline project. Creating and investing in a Teaching Fellowship model, forming partnerships with state teaching colleges and universities and districts to recruit high-performing college students to teach in rural areas for four years in exchange for free college tuition.
- Creating partner schools with state colleges and universities to serve as centers of teacher education, recruitment and education innovation all over the state.
- Scaling “grow your own” models that help interested paraprofessionals pursue teaching. By elevating alternative certification programs like the Relay Graduate School of Education and GaTAPP, we can help people gain their teaching certification while they work. Some of these programs are free or low-cost when combining AmeriCorps awards and the federal TEACH grant.
- Developing new teacher preparation programs to expand access to teaching. Support innovative approaches to teacher preparation in coordination with our state universities and technical colleges and HBCUs and HSIs, including teaching apprenticeships, that will allow districts to develop and retain their own educators.
Birth to 4 – Childcare and Pre-K
Our commitment to education should begin with a focus on birth to three, the early stages of childcare and pre-kindergarten. Providing high-quality, affordable child care to all families is one of the most important investments we can make to enable parents to fulfill their potential and to prepare all children to be skilled, well-rounded and civic-minded citizens in the future. According to the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students, the average annual cost of infant care in Georgia is $7,644, an amount that leaves many parents feeling as if affordable child care is out of reach. Without affordable child care, many parents will not be able to enter or remain in the workforce. Likewise, universal pre-k aids children with the skills and tools they need to begin school ready to learn, acclimate and succeed.
Bold Start Scholarship Program: Invest in statewide access to childcare, especially in low-income communities to ensure that all families can access quality and affordable child care. A Bold Start Scholarship Program will pay all child care costs that exceed 10 percent of a family’s income.
Increase Supply of High-quality Child Care: Decrease staff shortages by expanding tax credits for child care workers, partnering with financial institutions and technical assistance organizations to support new child care businesses and targeting underserved rural areas and nontraditional hours by working with community-based agencies and local nonprofits. Address childcare deserts by pulling down all available federal funds to fully fund child care.
Support Families with Increased Paid Parental Leave: Strengthening families starts with early investment. Currently, Georgia’s state employees are eligible for only up to three weeks (120 hours) of paid parental leave per year after the birth or adoption of a child. Increased paid time off will help improve healthy development and maternal health, while enhancing economic security.
Universal Georgia Pre-K: Fully fund Georgia Pre-K, a highly sought after and effective program, to make it truly universal and accessible to all families that want to participate.
K-12 Public Education
Stacey Abrams understands that when educators are highly valued and fairly compensated for their commitment to education, academic outcomes improve. Building One Georgia requires that we prioritize and invest in every generation – and that begins with public education.
As Governor, as part of a robust public education plan to support children from cradle to career, Stacey will invest in our teachers, paraprofessionals and support staff at unprecedented levels. Specifically, she will:
- Raise minimum teacher pay: Increase the state base salary for teachers from $39,092 to $50,000.
- Raise teacher salaries overall: Increase teacher salaries from current average of $62,500 to an average of $73,500 in her first term.
- Make Georgia a leader in teacher pay: Move Georgia from 21st in the nation in teacher salaries to the top 10.
- Support living wages and advancement for education support professionals: Ensure a living wage for ESPs, as well as professional development that will aid them in advancing in the education workforce.
Education is one of the strongest predictors of economic success – both for individuals and for the state’s economy. Georgia ranks 30th in the nation for preschool and K-12 education. Yet, the current governor has failed to lead on education before and during the pandemic. He gutted education funding early in his tenure and cut nearly one billion dollars from education last year. This year, his current proposal restored little more than half of what he cut and was funded by federal investment. This one-time infusion of federal funds leaves a massive hole in the state’s education funding promise to its children. Georgia must reverse the impact of this negligence by investing in the needs of the whole child from cradle to career – and our investment must extend beyond the walls of a classroom to meet the needs of the whole child.
Update and Fully Fund Georgia’s Quality Basic Education Formula: The QBE formula has not been revised to meet the changing needs of students, families and communities. Georgia must adopt a comprehensive education funding formula that not only pays our teachers well but must address new realities: directly addresses the correlation between poverty and poor educational outcomes, invests in student transportation to ensure safety, provides resources for crucial positions like nurses and substitute teachers and invests in technology to enable our children to compete in the 21st Century.
Establish Permanent Teacher Pay Increases: While our current governor issues incremental and inadequate raises to teachers at public events, he has failed to put in place a sustainable funding structure to attract talented educators to Georgia. 1 in 4 teachers are considering leaving their profession because of new and longtime challenges. Our teachers, paraprofessionals and staff deserve competitive wages and investment, not further threats to resources in an effort to divide Georgians for political gain. Schools must have enough funding to promote excellent working conditions for teachers and faculty while paying teachers for the essential work they do to educate Georgia’s children.
Establish the Georgia Educator Pipeline Project: Invest in leadership development for our schools’ administrators and facilitate the creation of a robust pipeline of teachers who are ready to work in every part of the state. We will build these pipelines in partnership with our state’s colleges offering degrees in education and provide incentives like student loan repayment programs for those willing to educate children in underserved areas. I will expand resources for the Governor’s School Leadership Academy to enhance its ability to provide a comprehensive and equitable system of support and build capacity for Georgia educators.
End Public School Dollar Diversion Programs: Public dollars should go to public schools. I will oppose private school tax credits and vouchers.
Increase Presence of Mental Health Professionals: Provide student and educator mental health funding to add school counselors for all students as well as access to telemedicine and other innovative programming for mental health supports. The American School Counselor Association recommends a minimum of one counselor per 250 students. Georgia’s ratio is currently 1 counselor per 432 students, a ratio far too high.
Defend Complete and Honest Education: Reject attempts to teach children misinformation in the public school system. Our children deserve a complete and honest education without threats to school funding. Some topics like slavery, segregation or the Trail of Tears are difficult, but our children must be given age-appropriate lessons and context. Parents and teachers should take part in these conversations; however, no school should face sanctions for teaching an accurate history of this nation or for preparing our children for the diverse world in which they live. As governor, I will oppose policies that drive a wedge between educators and families, and I will support programs that build trust and increase collaboration between those who are most engaged in our children’s success.
Eliminate Harmful Waivers: As of 2015, school systems can be granted “waivers” from state education laws, rules and guidelines, effectively giving local school districts veto power over the Georgia General Assembly’s policies on public education. These waivers allow districts to disregard state laws pertaining to class size maximums, health and P.E., teacher certification requirements and more, which negatively impacts the quality of public education in Georgia. As governor, I will re-examine the waiver policy to eliminate harmful waivers and ensure that any permitted waivers provide local flexibility without compromising the quality public education Georgia’s children deserve.
Support Our Children: Oppose any legislation that will have the effect of harming or increasing the likelihood of harm to students. For example, according to the CDC, 35% of transgender students attempt suicide by the time they reach high school. Transgender and nonbinary youth who have access to a gender-affirming space at school – like a supportive sports team – are 25% less likely to attempt suicide over the course of a year.
Increase Funding and Supports for Disadvantaged and Marginalized Students: Provide solutions that meet individual needs, including supports for ESL learners, students of color, disabled children and low-income students.
Post-Secondary and Higher Education
In Georgia, higher education investment must expand to create pathways to every level of post-secondary education, and we must provide access to aid for all students. Georgia must do more to increase educational opportunities beyond high school and help students graduate from any public program of their choice without debt.
Fully Fund the College Need-Based Aid Program: Georgia is one of two states with no funding for need-based aid, despite having an existing mechanism that the current governor has refused to fund. This funding will ensure that our students – regardless of the educational path they choose or the financial challenges they face – will have the opportunity to pursue their dreams and graduate without debt.
Restore Tuition-Free Technical College: Georgia’s technical colleges play a vital role for many students by emphasizing career-focused, hands-on training in trades and technical skills. As governor, I will work to make technical college accessible to more Georgians, by restoring tuition-free technical certificates and diplomas for students with a 2.0 GPA. Additionally, I will work with the Technical College System of Georgia to ensure funding aligns with strategic priorities for the years ahead and is available for technical colleges to attract students.
Restore Academic Tenure: Recent actions by the Georgia Board of Regents to eliminate academic tenure have severely undermined our public universities. As governor, I will restore protections for the talented and dedicated faculty of Georgia’s colleges and universities by restoring tenure. Academic tenure builds a system of strong job protections that is essential to Georgia’s ability to compete for talent and produce innovation.
Eliminate Barriers to Higher Education: I will support programs that increase higher education opportunities for Georgians experiencing barriers to access, including foster youth, students of color, disadvantaged youth, first-generation college students, disabled students, DREAMers, adult learners, veterans and military families.
Invest in Georgia’s HBCUs and HSIs: My administration will invest in our Historically Black Colleges and Universities, both public and independent, in support of their service to Georgia students. Through our reforms to HOPE, more students at our public HBCUs will have the economic ability to complete their education. Likewise, as our Latino population grows, we will support our Hispanic Serving Institutions. We will explore how to partner with independent colleges and universities for summer bridge programs that aid students, particularly first-generation college students, in transitioning from high school to college.
Protect Our Students: I will promote campus environments that are safe, secure and responsive. We will repeal campus carry, provide greater training for campus police and encourage productive dialogue between law enforcement and our students to address their safety concerns. We will support survivors of sexual assault by working to identify gaps in protections, reporting processes and services. We will defend the rights of DREAMers as they pursue their educational goals.
From personal experience, I understand that where we begin should not determine where we finish. Growing up with five siblings whose parents worked hard and still struggled to pay their bills, secure the best education for their six children and achieve the American Dream. They taught us that the keys to success are faith, family, service, education and responsibility. But they also showed my siblings and I that we are responsible for making the world fairer, wherever and whenever we can.
In today’s Georgia, a lot of folks are doing fine, some are doing extremely well and others have exactly what they want. We should celebrate success in Georgia, but we can never act as though opportunity is a privilege. In the United States, opportunity is the cornerstone of how we think about the future: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
As governor, I will be committed to tackling the barriers that prevent too many Georgians from dreaming big and moving forward. Zip code, background or access to power should not decide the future for you or your family.
We have to work for what we want, and sometimes, the fight is harder than it should be. But the game should never be rigged. That’s why we elect leaders – not to pick winners and losers but to be fair referees who call out the bad actors and do their best to level the playing field.
I have been a tax attorney, a small business owner, a nonprofit leader and a best-selling author. We will all stumble and sometimes fall, but success should never be out of reach. What my parents instilled in me is what I want for all of Georgia: a partner in government who can help where it should and get out of the way whenever it can.
Social mobility is how we describe that pursuit: affordable housing, safe communities, civil justice, effective transportation, the ability to start a life here and the choice to age in place. In Georgia, though, this partnership with the people will become an escalator – not an anchor.
Safe and Affordable Housing
Safe and affordable housing is essential to every Georgian’s well-being and opportunity to thrive. A well-maintained and safe home supports physical and mental health, leads to higher educational achievement and employment potential, decreases criminal justice system involvement and increases overall community wealth and well-being. This is true whether we live in Georgia’s big cities, small towns or rural communities. As governor, I am ready to implement important solutions to Georgia’s housing challenges.
Expand Affordable Housing: Provide direct financial assistance to local communities, including a state affordable housing fund to allow each community to access critical resources to meet local challenges. This will include properly deploying the millions in unspent rental assistance disbursed to Georgia.
Reducing Housing Challenges: Address the diverse range of housing needs for those with disabilities, military families and veterans, and those reentering our communities. Voucher programs, emergency assistance, and other aid and protections can help support these Georgians.
Protect Georgia Renters and Good Landlords: Tackle discrimination, predatory business practices, and abusive eviction filings and reform eviction courts to prevent excessive fees and unsafe living conditions. Renting families and law-abiding, responsible landlords deserve common-sense legal reforms that will make our courts work better for families and property owners.
Improve Housing Safety: Veto and support the repeal of laws that preempt local communities from providing safe, affordable housing for their residents. Invest in protective measures, such as lighting, architectural design improvements and materials.
Shelter and Safety: Support victims of family violence and sexual assault by ensuring that service providers in every part of the state can offer assistance and shelter. In 2020, over 5,600 victims and their children were provided nearly 120,000 nights of refuge in Georgia domestic violence shelters, and over 15,700 victims were turned away due to lack of space. The need is great, and the service gap must be closed.
Homeless Service Investment: Increase quantity and access to provide more shelter beds, supportive housing and transition support to address temporary homelessness and end the long-term cycles of homelessness that plague our communities.
Aging and Independence
Georgia’s senior citizens are a tremendous asset to our state. Whether by virtue of their life experience in our state’s diverse workforce or the volunteer leadership they provide for our community organizations, seniors are integral to building thriving communities in every region of Georgia.
Strengthen Aging and Disability Resource Centers: Help more seniors age in place by increasing support to the Aging and Disability Resource Centers, which offer critical connections between seniors and services. Devote resources to the Community Care Services program and Home and Community Based Service program to cut wait times and waitlists for services such as home health aides, delivered meals and personal care needs.
Improve Transportation Options for Seniors: Increase access to and quantity of reliable, efficient non- emergency medical transportation to ensure seniors and others can get to their medical appointments. Additionally, we will promote local efforts to launch volunteer driver programs.
Expand Medicaid: We will expand Medicaid to help early seniors who have not reached Medicare-age, namely, seniors who have lost their jobs or work for employers that do not offer health coverage. Medicaid expansion will also infuse more funds into the system to meet the assisted living needs of more seniors.
Re-energize the Older Adults Cabinet: Georgia’s Older Adults Cabinet has provided cross-sector collaboration among state agencies, providers and nonprofits to address the challenges facing seniors, and we are eager to reinstate this important work. Unfortunately, under Georgia’s current governor, this vital input has been ignored and the cabinet has gone dormant.
Every person should be treated with basic human dignity and respect, including members of the immigrant community who are part of the fabric of our state. Our nation must pursue fair, just, and comprehensive immigration reform that balances the conversation of safety with the need to create a pathway to citizenship for individuals who are in this country. Effective immigration policy also recognizes America’s role in the world as a place of refuge and asylum for those who are fleeing persecution and harm.
Oppose Separation of Children: I strongly oppose the cruel and immoral practice of separating migrant children from their parents. Regardless of political party, all of us must stand up and speak up for the voiceless – or risk inflicting irreparable damage on these families and to our nation.
Improve Community Relations with Immigrant Communities: As governor, I will work with law enforcement to improve communications and engagement with immigrant communities. Georgia must reject behavior that forces people into the shadows and prevents any resident from reporting crimes, either as a victim or a witness. That system undermines the ability of law enforcement to do their job and harms us all.
Grant Academic Access to DREAMers: I will defend the rights of DREAMers as they pursue their educational goals. My plan for higher education helps put every Georgian on a pathway to debt-free post-secondary education. Many people do not realize that the governor has the ability to appoint the Board of Regents, which oversees our post-secondary system. As governor, I will make sure immigrants, women, people of color, and people with disabilities serve on the Board of Regents. We must also provide pathways for DACA recipients to access higher education in Georgia.
Throughout my career in public service, I have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to supporting equality for LGBTQ+ Georgians. An effective government must protect civil rights and fight discrimination. From supporting marriage equality and comprehensive workplace protections to opposing any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, I am ready to build a stronger, brighter state where the gates of opportunity are open to every Georgian.
Enhance and Embrace Civil and Human Rights: Adopt protections in housing, employment and public accommodations for all Georgians, including those who fear discrimination.
Respect Georgia’s Families: Bolster the rights of LGBTQ+ parents who seek to grow their families but do not yet have necessary legal protections.
Nurture and Protect LGBTQ+ children: Cultivate school programs that proactively support LGBTQ+ kids and work to halt bullying, harassment and discrimination.
Fair and Diverse Economy for all Georgians: Reform the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity into the Georgia Commission on Human Rights. This restructured commission will have the ability to set clear pathways for harassment complaints, be a referral point for Georgia workers, and oversee mediation or investigations into harassment for those workers who do not fall under federal purview.
An effective government must protect civil rights and fight discrimination based on disability. Though it has been more than thirty years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), disabled people are still fighting for inclusion, equal opportunity and economic stability. As governor, I will work in partnership with the disability community in Georgia to fulfill the promises of the ADA: equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency.
Establish the Governor’s Advisory Council on Disability Affairs to advise the governor on the needs of disabled people in Georgia, work to increase the representation of disabled Georgians throughout state government and monitor state compliance with the ADA.
Fully expand Medicaid:
- Medicaid expansion will extend health coverage to more than half a million low-income Georgians.
- When we expand Medicaid, low-income disabled Georgians or chronic health conditions that do not meet the very strict legal definitions for Social Security Insurance (SSI) can become eligible for Medicaid based on income, which would facilitate access to the health care services they need.
Work to end marriage penalties for disabled people: Work with Georgia’s federal elected officials to pass legislation ending marriage penalties for disabled people receiving Medicaid and/or social security payments.
Review and assess whether all state facilities are ADA compliant: Have representatives from the newly-established Office of Disability Rights survey all state run facilities to ensure ADA compliant. Create a full report of which facilities are in need of updates and an action plan to make them compliant.
Provide resources and support for disabled youth transitioning into adulthood: Ensure disabled youth have access to resources and support ensuring their successful transition to independent living, going to college, finding employment, and having the healthcare they need to thrive.
Expand community living and affordable, accessible housing opportunities for Georgians with disabilities
- Develop an updated Olmstead Strategic Plan ensuring disabled Georgians live in community-based settings and not in hospitals and institutions.
- Increase funding for Georgia Housing Voucher Program to ensure low-income disabled people have affordable places to live.
Increase access to job opportunities for disabled Georgians
- Strengthen the Employment First Act and advance Employment First initiatives to provide greater access to employment.
- Explore legislative pathways to ending sheltered workshops and subminimum wages that allow disabled people to be paid pennies on the hour.
- Mandate training for all state agencies, universities, and commissions to increase recruitment and retention of disabled Georgians in the workforce.
- Recognize National Disability Employment Awareness Month in Georgia through public proclamation.
- Utilize federal funds through Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to make public transportation more accessible and create more accessible routes statewide, particularly in rural areas of Georgia.
- Advance communication access from the executive branch, all state agencies and in emergency communications for those who are Deaf and hard of hearing, blind and low vision, deafblind, and people with IDD through guaranteed ASL interpretation, CART, image descriptions, and plain language translations.
Support for those with Long COVID: Create an information hub with resources and guidance to ensure that people with Long COVID have access to the information they need to advocate for themselves and their rights. Explore pathways for providing financial assistance to people with Long COVID to help lessen the burden of medical cost, including helping individuals apply for federal disability that they are entitled to.
All Georgians deserve access to quality, affordable healthcare services to support their physical and mental well-being and to have financial security. During the pandemic, more than 30,000 Georgians have died from Covid complications, and thousands more have been temporarily or permanently disabled. The mental health impact of Covid and the stress of the pandemic continue to affect nearly every community. The share of Georgia adults who reported increased anxiety or depression spiked by 30% in 2021, yet we have 143 mental health care providers for every 100,000 people in Georgia. Our rural health care delivery system, already fragile due to Georgia’s failure to expand Medicaid, has been stretched even further by the Covid pandemic, and our rural communities are reeling. In Hancock County, one out of every 100 people has died from Covid complications.
While Covid has ravaged our state, other health care issues have continued. Georgia leads much of the nation in the number of uninsured, a terrible ranking with real consequences. Our state’s children are also in jeopardy: About four-in-ten of our counties have NO general pediatricians. Additionally, about half of our counties have no Ob/Gyns and about half have no psychiatrists. The geographic, racial and ethnic disparities that Georgians experience every day in our state are stark, documented and unacceptable. Georgia has been called the most dangerous state for pregnant women because of our high maternal mortality rates, particularly for Black mothers.
The burden of chronic disease falls unevenly in our state: Black people are dying from complications from diabetes at more than twice the rate of white people. These disparities stem from inequities in health coverage and access to care, but also from poverty and lack of access to nutritious foods, safe and stable housing and reliable transportation. Georgia’s continued inaction on Medicaid expansion is a catastrophe for our families, our communities, our under-resourced public health and our overworked hospital systems.
As governor, I will work every day to directly address our state’s health outcomes, strengthen our state’s health care delivery system and increase access to meaningful health coverage for all Georgians.
Georgia is one of only 12 states that has refused to expand Medicaid. More than 1.5 million Georgians lack health insurance coverage and our uninsured rate is the second-highest in the nation. When we expand Medicaid, more than 500,000 additional Georgians will have access and be able to see a health care provider without fear of medical debt, more than 60,000 new jobs will be generated in our local economies and more rural hospitals will be able to keep their doors open.
Address the Cost of Insulin and Health Care Access for People with Diabetes
Addressing the skyrocketing cost of insulin and health care access for Georgians living with diabetes is a critical tenet of Stacey’s plan to expand access to quality, affordable health care. Supporting all Georgians’ physical and mental well-being and financial security is essential to her efforts to build One Georgia and help every Georgian thrive. As Governor, Stacey will ensure that Georgians living with diabetes have access to the health care services and medications they need. Specifically, she will:
Expand Medicaid so eligible Georgians living with diabetes who are uninsured and cannot afford the costs of diabetes treatment gain affordable access to the services and medications they need to stay healthy and help them control their diabetes care, beginning with affordable insulin.
Implement a safety net Emergency Insulin Program that will provide an emergency one-month supply of insulin for qualifying Georgians. This program will be open to low- and moderate-income Georgians who, for example, have gaps in health insurance coverage or who may be unable to pay for their monthly insulin supply due to the loss of a job, a recent move, or other circumstances.
Demand federal action while serving as a partner with leaders in Washington. Passage of Reverend Warnock’s Affordable Insulin Now Act would cap the patient cost of insulin at $35 a month. If the federal government has not taken meaningful action or could be doing more, Stacey will use the full influence of the governor’s office to be an advocate for Georgians living with diabetes.
Establish Georgia’s Health Equity Action Team
Georgians face a maze of state agencies, private providers and insurance regulations when they simply want to get well. Our action team will cut through the red tape to improve the health and well-being of all Georgians. I will also require the health plans doing business with the state to identify and address health care disparities in access and outcomes within the populations they serve.
Increase Health Care Worker Development and Retention
Health care workers are experiencing burnout, depression and anxiety. Since February 2020, the health care industry is down 306,000 jobs nationwide. More than half of acute and critical care nurses are thinking about leaving the profession, exacerbating existing nursing shortages. We must address chronic and new health care worker staffing shortages as well as burnout in the health care profession and recruit and retain health care providers in our rural communities. I will also re-invest in our state’s public health infrastructure and grow our network of community health workers, doulas, home-visiting service providers and peer support specialists to help Georgians get connected to and use the health care, behavioral health and social services they need to be healthy and productive.
Create Covid Outreach Protocol
Ensure that treatment is accessible and affordable for the thousands of families with loved ones in nursing homes or otherwise in treatment for Long Covid. Also work with the state’s attorney general to ensure federal anti-discrimination laws are enforced in cases when Long Covid becomes a disability.
Create Covid Long-term Recovery Plan
Produce and regularly update a science-based, real-world-informed, transparent plan for how we address the long-term transition from pandemic to endemic Covid in our schools, businesses and public entities. The pandemic has touched every aspect of our lives: we have experienced profound loss, trauma and disruptions to our health care system, workplaces, financial circumstances, schools and communities. These effects will not disappear by declaring Covid over. We must monitor and respond to the known and unforeseen consequences of a once-a-century health crisis.
Military Families and Veterans Support
Georgia is home to thirteen military installations, nearly two million military family members, and one of America’s most robust veteran populations. Georgia must keep our nation’s promises to them, and we must ensure that their skills and experiences are properly valued as a vital part of our state and our economy.
Improve Transitions from Service to School and Career
Many service members finish their service and need added resources to transition to civilian life; the “A Promise Kept” initiative was an important first step, but more must be done to support these transitions.
Georgia Veterans Work Opportunity Tax Credit
Incentivize employers to hire veterans and count experience gained while in the military towards pay scale and position.
Georgia Veterans Higher Ed Initiative
Continue to decrease barriers for veterans to pursue higher education by providing dedicated veteran support staff at every college and university, more credit transfer opportunities and additional financial support.
End Veteran Homelessness
End veteran homelessness in Georgia through a federal, state and nonprofit joint venture to quickly identify veterans without homes, veterans on housing waiting lists and at-risk veterans to connect them to permanent, affordable housing and supportive services.
Protect Our Defenders Act
Secure comprehensive legislation to support our veterans on issues ranging from predatory lending, suicide prevention, inadequate healthcare, and post-deployment poverty.
Create the Office of Military Inclusion
Tackle challenges facing veterans of color, women veterans and LGBTQ+ veterans by coordinating specialized outreach efforts and addressing the health, housing, education, employment and legal challenges of these communities.
We must build and preserve an environment in our state that recognizes how vital clean air and water are to our lives and our economy, that anticipates the increase in extreme weather events and its effect on Georgia families, and that leads in the transition to renewable energy while creating jobs and new industries. My environmental action plan will generate significant job growth through advanced energy generation, innovative technologies and energy efficiency efforts. We will train and retrain workers for good-paying jobs in advanced energy sectors, and we will coordinate state and local action and develop public-private partnerships for greater impact across the state to implement advanced energy solutions.
Create New Jobs from Manufacturing to Coding
Advanced energy creates career pathways from the entry-level to high-skilled across fields and sectors, including initial estimates of 25,000-40,000 jobs. Georgia will expand access to well-paying careers in manufacturing, system design, project development, construction, installation and operations – all critical to an advanced energy economy. The manufacturing-intensive advanced energy industry promotes work for engineers, machinists, coders and installers, but also administrators, accountants, truck drivers, sales force and a range of other occupations.
Develop a Environmental Tech Workforce
Workforce training, apprenticeships and partnerships with labor and educational institutions will ensure opportunities exist for all workers, and Georgia will follow best practices to ensure women and under-represented groups participate.
Ensure Equitable Regional Investment
Advanced energy jobs can be developed across the state of Georgia. Already, places like Mitchell County and Tybee Island have leveraged advanced energy to create new jobs and opportunities through solar, and Georgia’s successful timber industry has created a sustainable market for biomass. Hydro, wind, solar and biomass energy have economic impact across the state, and with collaboration and focus, these energy sources can become engines of prosperity for more Georgians.
Eliminate Fees and Lower Utility Costs
Georgia will increase ease of adoption of solar and clean energy sources, which can lower the cost of utilities for the average user. By state law, Georgia allows financing for property owners who may use loans for energy efficiency improvements and make payments on the loan through property tax assessments, but implementation has lagged. Georgia will work with local governments to increase the energy efficiency opportunities for Georgians.
Green Savings Plan for Taxpayers
Georgia will adopt green government initiatives that foster energy efficiency and reduce waste, which will not only create jobs but also save taxpayer dollars. Simple actions like updating building codes, examining power grids and shifting to purchasing clean energy vehicles can amount to savings for taxpayers. We will also increase energy efficiency throughout Georgia by offering financial incentives for meeting high public construction energy standards.
Conduct Georgia Green-Mapping Project for Investors
From wind and hydro opportunities in North Georgia, to biomass in South Georgia and solar capacity across the state, advanced energy innovation uses natural resources in a sustainable manner. Farmers and timberland owners have already begun to use existing landholdings for access to solar farms, and with the right partnerships, Georgia can more effectively utilize our varied topography.
Establish the Georgia Green Development Bank
Seed private investment, set attainable renewable energy targets for our electric utilities, target tax credits towards advanced energy generation and work with all interested local communities to streamline the adoption of solar and advanced energy power projects to create 25,000 jobs.
Expand Georgia’s Carbon Sequestration Registry
Systematically enroll all appropriate state properties in concert with private market investors. The public share of its financial proceeds will be applied to meeting green development goals statewide.
Activate Georgia’s Youth Conservation Corps
Invest in and leverage this program for training and employment in residential energy efficiency implementation and working with our state’s utilities to explore opportunities to modernize our electric power grid.
Protect Our Water Supply
Pursue legislative and regulatory solutions to toxic coal ash waste by requiring safe storage of coal ash, engage in continuous monitoring of all such toxic storage sites for leaks, and immediately provide alternative water supplies and groundwater remediation when leaks occur.
Protect Our People Initiative
Direct Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division to take action to protect Georgians from dangerous toxins in our environment, to define a protocol to address “forever chemicals” dumped in North Georgia and in the Ogeechee River and set a firm timetable for final remediation of the state’s inventory of hazardous sites. Also budget for state agencies to address commercial, industrial and agricultural waste.
Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform
In Georgia, families of every background are concerned about the rise in violent crime and how it impacts their communities. Too many Georgians are afraid to drop their kids off at school, attend a religious service or go to the grocery store. We must secure our state, but public safety is only part of the equation.
Georgia must also address concerns about law enforcement accountability and the state’s legacy of mass incarceration. This means implementing reforms and accountability measures to build community trust. It also means we must confront our failing prison system and support the successful return of citizens who have completed their sentences. Otherwise, we are trying to punish our way to safety – which has never worked.
Instead, Georgia must tackle public safety, address violence and advance criminal justice reform to build One Georgia where all of our residents have the opportunity to thrive.
The rise in violence in Georgia is inextricably linked to economic insecurity and guns. Georgia’s poverty rate is 14 percent overall and 20 percent among children, who are now committing more crimes or are the most vulnerable victims. Numerous studies show direct connections between violence, economic instability and under-resourced public schools.
Yet, the violence our neighborhoods face is directly tied to guns and their availability and poor oversight in Georgia. Guns are the leading cause of death among Georgia’s kids and teens. Georgia ranks 9th in the nation for gun violence and at least 80 percent of homicides in Georgia are committed with guns.
The current governor has consistently deflected responsibility for the rise of violent crime that started on his watch, and he has failed to respond to the major increase in gun violence that began in 2020. Instead, he has advocated for and signed into law a new criminal carry bill that makes it easier for virtually anyone to carry concealed weapons in public. Before the passage of criminal carry legislation in Georgia, more than 11,000 people were denied or revoked permits over a three year period because they likely failed to pass a background check.
Brian Kemp’s predecessor, Governor Nathan Deal, a Republican, understood the connection between public safety and criminal justice. Gov. Deal led a multi-year bipartisan reform effort, which saved hundreds of millions of dollars while advancing public safety. Instead of building on Gov. Deal’s work, Gov. Kemp disbanded that successful, cost-saving effort. Stacey Abrams will reconstitute the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Task Force and expand on Governor Deal’s legacy by convening stakeholders—including law enforcement, prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys, judges, advocates, and formerly incarcerated Georgians—to collaborate on evidence-based solutions to our public safety challenges.
Stacey Abrams is the only candidate for governor with a comprehensive plan to address violent crime and reform our criminal justice system in Georgia.
Combat the fundamental causes of violence and decriminalize poverty
Expand Medicaid to broaden access to mental health and substance abuse treatment and reduce the role of law enforcement in crisis intervention.
Support wraparound services for high-risk communities to decrease incident rates, including targeting challenged schools/neighborhoods that produce a disproportionate number of youth offenders.
Require civil rather than criminal penalties for certain traffic and low-level drug offenses to reduce recidivism and escalation of criminal behavior.
Target programs to increase educational and community opportunities for at-risk young people beginning in 3rd grade through joint projects with schools and nonprofits.
Secure mental health and behavioral therapy for highest-risk youth and offer family interventions.
Expand employment training and opportunities, including apprenticeships, for high-risk youth.
Reduce gun violence
- Coordinate with and secure financial incentives for local governments, law enforcement agencies, and community organizations to design and implement violence intervention programs.
- Reduce guns on the streets by repealing bills that needlessly endanger Georgians — including criminal carry, campus carry, and the 2014 “Guns Everywhere” law.
- Close the background check loophole for private transfers and gun show sales.
- Close the domestic violence perpetrators loophole.
- Adopt red flag legislation to prevent those who pose a danger to themselves or others to purchase a weapon or to be reported for protective actions.
Reduce recidivism and support reentry
Establish a new Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Task Force that builds on Governor Nathan Deal’s legacy by reconvening stakeholders — including law enforcement, prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys, judges, advocates, and formerly incarcerated Georgians — to collaborate on evidence-based solutions to our public safety challenges.
Restore and expand proven interventions like eliminating private probation, expanding diversion programs and funding accountability courts such as veterans’ courts and drug courts
Realign investments in treatment, education, and job training that will enable people to live crime-free lives after release.
Strengthen self-help programs for people released from prison.
Expand access to mental health and substance abuse treatment through Medicaid expansion.
Incentivize employers to hire people reentering their community.
Enact Clean Slate legislation that offers automatic clearing of criminal records once someone remains crime-free for a set period of time.
Support and Invest in Law Enforcement
Raise base salary for state patrol, correctional officers (adult and juvenile), and community supervision officers to approximately $50,000/year and offer proportionate increases based on experience, which will improve recruitment and retention efforts to address severe staffing shortages, at a two-year cost of $91M per year.
Provide $25M in state grants to local agencies for salary raises to support living wages and incentivize local housing options, rather than deferring support to the public through problematic tax credit programs that have proven uneven or insufficient in other sectors.
Secure and regularize mental health supports at every level of law enforcement, including reducing stigma and expanding self-reporting options.
Invest in expanded training and collaborative supports, like crisis officers who specialize in mental health and social service.
Build community trust and accountability in public safety
Develop and enforce guidelines for key police department policies that govern community relations and transparency.
Partner with Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Program (GA POST) to fortify training standards that address use of force, de-escalation, and crisis intervention and tie increased state funding to local department adoption of best practices.
Require accountability for unlawful law enforcement and correctional violence and misconduct. Provide and maintain a statewide database of law enforcement officers dismissed for violation of standards to help other law enforcement agencies make informed hiring decisions.
As the next Governor of Georgia, Stacey Abrams will defend the right to an abortion, fight for women’s access to full reproductive health care and support healthy pregnancies. Specifically, she will:
Defend Reproductive Rights and Privacy
Protect and expand the rights of women and families to make healthcare decisions and defend the ability of doctors to provide medical care. Veto legislation that would further restrict abortion rights and work to repeal the 6-week abortion ban.
Support Safe Pregnancies
Promote prenatal healthcare for women and their families, including full-range access to care in the event of miscarriage or other complications. Protect doctors who serve families during pregnancy loss.
Promote Equity in Access to Family Planning
Ensure all Georgians have access to the health care they need, including reproductive health care. Work to increase safe and affordable access to contraceptives and achieve reproductive justice for women and families.
Recruit and Retain Physicians Statewide
Work with medical schools to replicate programs like Mercer’s Nathan Deal Scholarship program, which provides tuition funds for students who commit to serving at least four years post-graduation in medically-underserved rural Georgia.
Increase availability of Plan B and Emergency Contraception
Ensure that clinics and healthcare providers can provide emergency contraception that is affordable and accessible to all in need.
Cut funding for “crisis pregnancy centers”
End state funding of so-called “crisis pregnancy centers,” which lack oversight, do not use medically sound standards, and do not provide medically accurate information to women who are pregnant.
Invest in Critical Maternal Healthcare
Fund rural hospitals through immediate Medicaid expansion. Leverage state and federal programs to incentivize more doctors and medical personnel to locate in under-served areas and reduce our maternal and infant mortality rates.
Protect Those in Need of Services
Expand protections for clinic escorts to ensure that patients in need of reproductive healthcare are safe. Prosecute those who harm patients outside of reproductive healthcare providers.
Deprioritize Abortion-Related Prosecutions
While the 6-week ban is effect, urge all state law enforcement and prosecutors to resist the criminalization of abortion by deprioritizing abortion-related arrests and subsequent prosecution.
Georgians deserve a thoughtful approach to how we keep our communities safe that combines respect for gun ownership and accountability for gun safety. Georgia had the 14th-highest gun death rate in the country in 2019 and was the top exporter of crime guns in the country. The violence our neighborhoods face is directly tied to guns and their availability and poor oversight in Georgia. Guns are the leading cause of death among Georgia’s kids and teens. Georgia ranks 9th in the nation for gun violence and at least 80 percent of homicides in Georgia are committed with guns.
The current governor has consistently deflected responsibility for the rise of violent crime that started on his watch, and he has failed to respond to the major increase in gun violence that began in 2020. Instead, he has advocated for and signed into law a new criminal carry law that makes it easier for virtually anyone to carry concealed weapons in public. Before the passage of criminal carry legislation in Georgia, over a three-year period, more than 11,000 people were denied or revoked permits, likely because they failed to pass a background check.
To improve gun safety, Stacey will:
Repeal Criminal Carry
The current governor championed legislation that makes it easier for criminals to carry concealed weapons without a permit. In 2020, 5,300 people who applied for permits to carry hidden weapons were rejected. Kemp’s plan arms these individuals and sends them on the street, into our churches, into our schools. It also creates a loophole for domestic abusers and the mentally ill to avoid detection and secure lethal weapons.
Repeal Campus Carry, ‘Guns Everywhere’, and Gun Return Laws
These anti-safety laws have been opposed by Georgia university administrators, educators, pastors and parishioners, and a majority of Georgians. I would also reform the “Gun Return” law, described as “the most egregious gun law in Georgia” and opposed by law enforcement because it requires that guns used to commit crime be put back onto the street.
Close the Domestic Violence Loophole
We must pass legislation to stop perpetrators of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking from accessing guns, which may include prohibiting possession and requiring the surrender of firearms or ammunition by domestic abusers. Laws in other states to address this “relinquishment gap” have lowered firearm related intimate partner homicides by 14%.
Close the Gun Show Loophole
Georgia law explicitly blocks any local government from regulating gun shows in any manner. There are no regulations that require people who purchase guns from private sellers to undergo background checks, as required when purchasing from a licensed dealer.
Protect People Experiencing Mental Illness and Their Families
Georgia must follow other states with legislation to allow families to petition for extreme risk protection orders. When a loved one has mental health challenges that put them at risk of endangering themselves or others, families and law enforcement should have a path to petition a court to temporarily restrict firearms access.
As founder of multiple organizations promoting and protecting the right to vote, I have demonstrated a commitment to a strong democracy in Georgia and beyond. Every eligible Georgian should have the ability to register to vote, to cast a ballot and to have that ballot properly recorded – without systematic barriers. As governor, I will prioritize voting rights as essential to democracy and effective government. I will leverage both administrative authority and advocate for legislation to accomplish the following:
Improved Voter Registration Practices and Proper Safeguards
Georgians who are eligible to vote but who did not have an opportunity to register should be able to register and vote on Election Day with proper safeguards. We will ensure conventional paper voter registration applications are processed within 20 days of receipt. We will prioritize top-level security investment for all voting infrastructure, including voter registration systems
Support Counties and Ensure Voting is Convenient
We will make sure counties have the training, resources and flexibility needed to serve their voters and work with the Secretary of State to provide consistency for voters across 159 counties. Voting in Georgia must be made more accessible by mandating fair allocation of polling places and polling place resources during early voting and on Election Day. Polling locations must be stable, convenient and equitable to voters. We will invest in mobile voting precincts to assist seniors, disabled Georgians and Georgians voting in areas with long wait times. Postage for mail ballots should be free.
End Arbitrary Rejection of Ballots
Votes must count if they are cast in a voter’s county – just as is the practice during early voting periods. Mail ballots must count if they are postmarked up to and including Election Day.
Stop Gerrymandering at State and Local Level
I will veto maps with gerrymandered districts, whether state legislative or Congressional. Moreover, we must end the practice of state interference and restore local control in local elections.
Georgia’s affordable housing crisis means many families cannot find homes to buy or rent that they can afford. Lack of stable, safe and reasonably priced housing hurts all aspects of people’s lives — from education to the economy to crime.
I am the only candidate with a comprehensive plan to address the four central housing challenges Georgians face in urban, suburban and rural communities every day. My plan will:
Georgia’s working families frequently cannot find affordable homes to buy or rent. To ensure families of all income levels can live in decent housing, I will:
- Support First-Time Homeowners and expand the GA DREAM Program
- Help first-time homeowners through affordable financing, down payment assistance, closing cost assistance and homebuyer education.
- Increase funding support for first-time homebuyers.
- Dedicate funding to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund -Fund the Affordable Housing Trust Fund at ten times the current level (an increase from $3M to $32M) and explore a dedicated revenue source.
- Prohibit discrimination based on source of income
- Amend the Georgia Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination against renters based on their source of income.
- Empower local governments to protect homeowners and tenants
- Permit localities to take steps to protect homeowners and tenants, including local fair housing ordinances or protecting tenants by requiring inspections of single-family rental homes.
Expand Inventory and Habitability
A major driver of Georgia’s affordable housing crisis is limited inventory of reasonably priced, safe, and habitable homes and rentals. To increase the supply of all types of housing — not just new luxury apartment buildings — I will introduce and champion legislation that will:
- Empower localities to create a separate property tax class
- Pass legislation that allows localities to create a separate property tax class for qualifying affordable housing projects, which will enable localities to offer additional tax incentives for the creation of affordably priced units.
- Permit local governments to increase the stock of affordable units
- Enable local governments to use development impact fees to finance affordable housing or require compensation for people displaced by new development.
- Clarify that localities are allowed to adopt inclusionary zoning rules that meet their local needs and promote economic diversity.
- Require landlords to provide safe, livable homes -Incorporate a standard of habitability clause into all leases and empower localities to enforce rental code safety requirements.
- Provide tax incentives for safety and energy-efficient based rental improvements -Give tax incentives to landlords for making safety and energy-efficiency improvements to their property (e.g. lighting, architectural and security repairs).
Support Low-Income Housing
- Require additional affordability standards for federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects.
- Require LIHTC projects to serve some households at 40% of the Annual Median Income (AMI) within an area.
- Ensure the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) prioritizes nonprofit developers using LIHTC.
- Require those benefiting from LIHTC to create energy-efficient buildings.
- Establish affordability and duration standards
- Require developments benefiting from state support via tax advantages enabled by state law (such as tax allocation districts) to follow affordability and durations standards set forth.
Protect Against Gentrification
Recent real estate development has primarily benefited affluent households, leading to a rapid increase in home prices, property taxes, and rental prices. To protect longtime residents from being displaced from gentrifying neighborhoods, I will take the following actions:
- Create a permanent fund to finance property tax deferments
- Finance property tax deferments for low- and moderate-income households facing rapidly rising property taxes to act as a circuit breaker. For these owners, property tax increases would be deferred until the property is sold and capped at the amount of the property’s appreciation.
- Enable residents to buy homes and acquire, preserve and maintain affordable housing
- By co-investing in financing programs to help residents buy homes when their rental units are converted into ownership units
- By acquiring, preserving, and maintaining “naturally occurring affordable housing” — typically older buildings in gentrifying neighborhoods.
Protect Georgians from Homelessness
Too many Georgian families are experiencing homelessness because of high housing costs, delayed rental assistance, low wages and a shortage of needed support and services. To protect Georgians from homelessness and help people experiencing homelessness find housing, I will take the following actions:
Create an overall plan to address homelessness Prioritize veterans, disabled and formerly incarcerated individuals facing housing instability or homelessness.
- Provide shelter, support and resources to prevent homelessness
-Provide more shelter beds for individuals experiencing domestic violence.
Support rapid re-housing programs that provide short-term grants to help families move from homelessness into permanent housing.
Foster legal aid programs to help families respond to threats of eviction and foreclosure.
Support homeless, mentally ill, and disabled Georgians by increasing funding for the State Housing Trust Fund for the Homeless and the Georgia Housing Voucher Program.
Divert people experiencing homelessness from going to jail by championing law enforcement programs that send them to other services. An example of this is the Atlanta Policing Alternatives & Diversion Initiative
Create a permanent Emergency Rental Assistance fund to protect households suffering unexpected financial hardship.
Aid local governments in the development and operation of supportive housing facilities.
Create a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to help low-income, working Georgians and enable more families to afford housing.
Distribute unspent federal and state money for emergency rental assistance elerate the distribution of more than $450 million of unspent federal emergency rental assistance.
Protect Georgians from eviction and foreclosures:
- Protect tenants from summary eviction by requiring a notice period during which tenants can cure any violations and a reasonable cause requirement for eviction.
Establish a judicial foreclosure process in Georgia.
Reduce the rate of foreclosures and make Georgia a less attractive target for unscrupulous sellers of high-cost subprime mortgages.
Ethics and Public Integrity
Our Ethics and Public Integrity Platform has one core message: I promise to serve you as the next governor of Georgia. My job will be to earn and keep your trust through an ethical, open, transparent, and secure state government focused on the public interest—not special interests and not my interests. As governor, I will be committed to expanding on my proven track record to build a state where every Georgian can trust that the office of the governor is serving on their behalf.
I have built my career on ethical and transparent leadership. I volunteered as legal counsel to newly-elected Mayor Shirley Franklin’s ethics commission in 2002, and I was a legal advisor to the city’s Ethics Office as Deputy City Attorney from 2003 to 2006. As a state legislator, I held frequent town halls in my district and regularly distributed a legislative session email to constituents detailing my votes on legislation and served on the House Ethics Committee. For constitutional amendments, I explained the pros and cons of the legislation and my reasoning for how I planned to vote. I consistently supported transparency measures, including a bill to launch the Open Georgia website on government finances and a bill requiring an annual accounting of tax breaks. I served as a board member of Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University and co-edited a book on ethical leadership in the 21st century.
My Ethics and Public Integrity Platform rewrites the rules to work in favor of all families, making state government more open, transparent, and accountable to Georgians. Right now, most Georgians find our state government too complex, too inaccessible and too opaque. They have little confidence in elected officials, question the motivations of people working in government, believe their tax dollars are wasted and assume decisions are made in someone else’s best interest. Too often, they’re right. No citizen should trust those in power who are also willing to ban peaceful protest, censor history and curtail women’s bodily autonomy and access to healthcare. Under my leadership, everyone working for my administration will be held to the highest of ethical standards. We will make it our duty to build trust in our state government.
We can build a better Georgia for everyone, renew integrity in governance, and earn confidence from the people of our state. If we do right by our people, we can get more done for our future, moving Georgia to its next and greatest chapter. My plan for strong ethical leadership as governor of Georgia will ensure that voters know I am always on their side ready to serve.
Set High Ethical Standards
As public servants, we must protect fair and equal access to government services and put public interests over personal interests. As governor, I will:
Lead by Example. I will make responsible decisions with regard to my personal finances and professional affiliations, including walling myself off from financial decisions that may create a conflict of interest. I will step down from public boards and I will refuse all compensation for my service. I will meet all ethical obligations, written and assumed, to ensure I am not subject to undue influence.
Establish a Code of Ethics. Within the first 30 days, I will Issue an Executive Order for employees of the Office of Governor, including the Governor, and other state employees under the governor’s purview and require annual completion of a conflict of interest statement. Office of Governor officials and employees must be free from bias or personal agenda, and their sole purpose of doing the work must be to help the people of Georgia. Each Governor’s office employee will be required to participate in an annual ethics training in order to remain employed to guarantee standards are understood and met.
Offer Lobby Expenditure Reporting in Real Time. Lobby expenditure information is already mandatory and collected by the Ethics Commission from lobbyists. However, this data should be made available to Georgians without question or delay. A searchable state database function will be added to the Ethics Commission website, where lobbyists are already required to submit regular reports on lobbying expenditures. Georgians should be able to know who is influencing our legislators.
Strengthen Transparency Requirements for Economic Development Subsidies. The role of the state includes expanding economic opportunity, but the governor must also be the first to prevent corruption and ensure government accountability. Georgia currently struggles to meet even minimum standards of online transparency for economic development subsidies — leaving the average citizen unaware of how billions of taxpayer dollars are spent. I will mandate regular development subsidy audits to examine the role and use of tax incentives, and I will expand access to online data.
Publish an Annual Tax Expenditure Report. As governor, I will require an annual report analyzing and grading the impact of tax credits, exemptions, and deductions on the state budget and actual economic development.
Listen to Georgians and Be Transparent About Our Work
Georgians face complex challenges across our state. They deserve a leader who will show up, listen, stand up for their issues, and then report back on the work being done. As governor, I will:
Provide Access for Constituents. In recent years, failures in the Executive Branch have been blamed on various constitutional officers, but the governor cannot ignore the needs of the people. I will appoint a Director of Constituent Services to link citizen concerns and requests with my administration and act as liaison with other constitutional offices.
Listen to Georgians. I will hold two listening sessions in each congressional district in my first year that are open to the public and to the press, offering an opportunity for me to hear your priorities, ideas, and questions.
Transparency in State Government. I will launch a Georgia Performance Dashboard so Georgians can easily see where we stand on important measures in education, health, transportation, financial management, and more. Georgia has performance measures for state agencies, but we need to improve the accessibility of these features for all Georgians.
Protect Workers from Harassment
All workers—including public workers—deserve to feel safe and free from harassment. As governor, I will:
Strong Protections and Practices. As governor, I will ensure practices and protections against harassment within the executive branch are strong, comprehensive, and just. Collaborate with legislators to define the rules of conduct, construct clear pathways for complaints, require sexual harassment prevention programs and training, and ensure appropriate penalties.
Georgia Commission on Human Rights. In light of the attacks on our civil and human rights, I will reform the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity as the Georgia Commission on Human Rights. This restructured commission will have the ability to set clear pathways for harassment complaints, facilitate equal opportunity complaints, serve as a referral point for Georgia workers, and oversee mediation or investigations into harassment for those workers who do not fall under federal purview.
Protect Your Data and Services
Governments hold some of the most sensitive information about our citizens—court records, tax returns, and medical histories, among others. Cyber-attacks can cause havoc on our vital services like public safety and water systems and put our citizens and businesses at risk. We must be vigilant in protecting our citizens and their public services in the face of ongoing attacks.
- Partner with Georgia Technology Authority. I will work with the Cybersecurity Board to continue to identify and address data security gaps impacting our state, invest in technology infrastructure to mitigate security risks, and train employees to be aware and responsive.
- Support Innovation. I will expand the Georgia Cyber Center to ensure the Center stands as a national model for collaboration in cybersecurity. We will be ready and resilient through coordinated planning across state government, U.S. Army Cyber Command, local governments, higher education, and the private sector.