Democrats announced Tuesday their pick to deliver the party’s response to President Trump’s State of the Union (SOTU) address. According to The Washington Post, Georgia’s former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams will respond to Trump’s 2019 SOTU speech, which will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 5.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the party’s decision to the press. "She is just a great spokesperson," he said on Tuesday. "She’s an incredible leader. She has led the charge for voting rights, which is at the root of just about everything else. … I’m very excited that she’s agreed to be the respondent to the president."
It’s no surprise that Democratic leaders picked Abrams to respond to Trump. The Peach State Democrat made a name for herself in part due to her efforts to register black voters in the state. After losing the general election to her Republican opponent Brian Kemp, Abrams criticized how the election was managed in a fiery speech. As secretary of state at the time, Kemp was in charge of supervising the same election he ran in.
"This is not a speech of concession, because concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true, or proper," Abrams said in her speech then. "As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede that. But, my assessment is the law currently allows no further viable remedy."
"Now, I can certainly bring a new case to keep this one contest alive, but I don’t want to hold public office if I need to scheme my way into the post," she added. "Because the title of governor isn’t nearly as important as our shared title: voters. And that is why we fight on."
Abrams has also been frank about the difficulties people face in casting their ballots, including herself. In November, 2018, she spoke with NPR’s Morning Edition host, Steve Inskeep, about her own experience with voting early in October.
The Democrat said that a poll worker told her at the time that she had already requested an absentee ballot, which she said was news to her. After bringing the issue up to the site manager, it was resolved.
Although she managed to fix things "quietly," Abrams added that her privilege as someone who understands the law helped her in that situation. It’s not the same for others, though, she noted.
"There are thousands, millions in Georgia who do not know what their rights are," she told Inskeep, "and therefore do not know that they shouldn’t have to wait in four-hour lines in the rain with their children."
Responding to the president’s SOTU address is no small feat. It requires a good deal of nerve, confidence, and composure to deliver an effective and concise speech. And given her oratory skills, Abrams will likely prove an effective speaker to counter Trump’s address.
But this SOTU response won’t be the last time you see Abrams. During her speech at the TEDWomen 2018 conference in December, the Democrat hinted at being "open" to all political possibilities, including perhaps running for office again.
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