Stacey Abrams is currently running for Georgia Governor. As part of her campaign trail, she has traveled throughout much of the state sharing her goals and plans she will carry out as governor. Rome, Georgia was one of those campaign stops.
A crowd of people poured into Schroeder’s New Deli on Broad Street Friday afternoon. The crowd held up signs, people had stickers, and some wore Stacey Abrams t-shirts. The anticipation was building as Janice Laws, who is running for Insurance Commissioner, stepped up to the microphone to discuss her plans to make auto insurance more affordable and her plans to “close the coverage gap on health insurance in Georgia.” Laws states that Georgia has one of the highest uninsured rates in the country and she hopes to fix that if elected.
As Laws stepped down, Charlie Bailey, who is running for Attorney General, stepped up. He begins to explain he plans to make sure everyone from Georgia only has to work one job to make ends meet and have a good quality of life. “I’m running for Attorney General because every day the vast majority of Georgians they get up and they go to work and if they are lucky they are working one job. But many of them, far, far too many of them are working two to three jobs.”
Bailey explained that there are many factors that stand in the way of Georgia residents being able to provide the life they want for themselves and their families. He lists some of these factors as organized crimes, gangs, special interests that exploit them, and corrupt politicians. Bailey says he plans to build an organized crime and gang division and a civil rights division in the Attorney General’s office, something that would be the first of its kind in Georgia. He promises that he will make sure to keep Georgia on the right side of every single national debate. He ended his speech by saying “We will not overcome them if we remain divided. And there are those, make no mistake, that will build walls and profit off of them. Walls that divide us along lines of race, of ethnicity, of religion, of gender and sexual orientation, of urban and rural, of rich, poor, and middle class, of democrat and republican. But what I urge you to do, is to tear down those walls.”
After, Bailey finished his emotional speech Stacey Abrams entered the courtyard. The crowd erupted with chants and applause. Abrams stepped up to the microphone and greeted Floyd county. As Abrams began to speak, there is a voice from the crowd asking if she pays her taxes. Abrams calmly says that she does. The man shouting continues to ask if she pays her taxes, as the crowd shouted at him to stop. Abrams reassures “this man served our country, he is a Georgia citizen, he has the right to ask me questions.” The man continued to ask Abrams about her taxes to which he replied that she and the IRS were in very good terms. After a bit of back and forth, the man and Abrams shook hands and the man exited the courtyard.
Abrams began her speech by recognizing the privileges she has had in her life when it comes to education. She stated that she hopes to be able to help all Georgia residents to achieve the most that they can. She goes on to say that she hopes to get the “promotion” from the House of Representative to State Governor. She listed some of her accomplishments as “blocked the single largest tax increase in Georgia history,” passed legislation to support military families and veterans, and increased investment in transportation. Abrams describes expanding Medicaid as her day one promise, and the one that she will ensure more than anything.
Abrams continued by saying that she is also running because she believes in the right to freely express opinions. “that gentleman may not have agreed with the rest of us, but he had the right to speak. And the problem comes about when we think that you only get the right to speak when you say the stuff we want to hear.”
Throughout her speech, Abrams emphasized that she truly wants to see Georgia prosper. She vowed to make changes that favor education, changes that include: making pre-k more accessible, making sure children have enough to eat both at school and at home so they can focus on learning, looking out for teachers when it comes to both their wages and retirement, expanding pathways to post-secondary education, making technical college free, and creating 22,000 registered apprenticeships in Georgia by 2022.
“We can educate our children from cradle to career but we have to have a governor that intends to make certain that all 159 of our counties have access to good jobs.”
Abrams went on to explain how important it is to have a variety of different jobs and to invest in a variety of different things like agriculture, hospitality, advanced energy jobs, and biotech. She explains that by diversifying the economy, it diversifies the opportunities in Georgia.
She ends her speech by emphasizing the importance to go vote, and even more the importance to vote early.
“I need you to vote early to get our votes in the bank because life happens. Somebody’s car breaks down, somebody’s child gets sick, your boss decided you have to work a little longer than you were supposed to.”
Stacey Abrams exited Schroeder’s courtyard as the crowd cheered and applauded.