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Stacey Abrams, Brian Kemp continue campaigns for Georgia governor's office

September 30, 2018

Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp continue to campaign for the office of Gov. Nathan Deal, who will complete his second and final term as governor of Georgia in January.


The forthcoming election


The race for the governorship will culminate on election day, Nov. 6, when the public finally selects Abrams or Kemp as the best choice for the position. Abrams or Kemp will then serve one term until Georgia’s next gubernatorial 

Stacey Abrams has degrees from both Spelman College and the Yale School of Law. Using those degrees and her platform, she is working to become the country’s first black female governor. View her speech at Spelman College above. // Credit: Stacey Abrams' YouTube Account

election in 2022, when she or he will have the opportunity to run for re-election.


Who is Stacey Abrams?


Stacey Yvonne Abrams, born December 9, 1973, in Madison, Wisconsin to Robert and Carolyn Abrams, was raised partly in Gulfport, Mississippi before her parents moved the family to Atlanta.


Abrams has five siblings and her parents are both United Methodist ministers. Abrams also identifies as United Methodist, according to her VoteSmart profile. Her campaign website states that she grew up poor and that her family often struggled to make ends meet.


Aside from her Democratic candidacy for governor, Abrams is perhaps most well-known for her positions as House minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives from 2011-2017, and as deputy city attorney for Atlanta from 2003-2006.


In addition to her work in law and politics, Abrams is also a published author. Under the pen name “Selena Montgomery,” Abrams has written eight romance novels, with titles such as “Hidden Sins,” “Secrets and Lies,” “Reckless" and “Deception.”


What is Abrams’ educational and political background?


Abrams graduated from Avondale High School in DeKalb County, Georgia and went on to attend Spelman College in Atlanta, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in interdisciplinary studies.


Following the completion of her undergraduate career, Abrams attended the University of Texas, where she received her Master of Public Affairs in public policy, and Yale Law School, where she received her J.D.


Abrams’ first political endeavor began when she was appointed deputy city attorney for Atlanta at age 29. She is the youngest person to ever hold the position. During her appointment, Abrams managed a multimillion-dollar budget, headed several major development projects and provided legal counsel to the Office of the Mayor, Public Works Department and other city authorities.


Before beginning her campaign for governor, Abrams was active in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2006-2017. She served as a Democratic representative for Georgia’s 84th and 89th districts, which include several Atlanta-area cities and portions of DeKalb County. She also served as House minority leader from 2011-2017.

Abrams was the first woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly and is the first African-American to lead in the Georgia House of Representatives, according to her official state biography.


Abrams is a strong proponent of increasing public education funding and access. She has stated more than once that the country’s public school system saved her family’s life and helped them escape poverty. If elected governor, Abrams says she will be Georgia’s “Public Education Governor.”


During her tenure as House minority leader, Abrams, alongside Gov. Nathan Deal, sponsored a bill that reformed Georgia's HOPE scholarship program. Abrams also supported legislation to support and provide assistance for the state’s most low-performing schools.


Abrams served as a democratic representative for Georgia’s 84th and 89th districts, which include several Atlanta-area cities and portions of DeKalb County. // Image Credit: Marietta Daily Journal

Why is Abrams running for governor?


If elected governor, Abrams hopes to tackle a variety of issues within Georgia’s public school system, as well as issues with affordable housing, criminal justice, voting rights, gun safety and health care.


Some of Abrams’ proposals include expanding Medicaid and mental health funding, creating a new public school scholarship program, ending veteran homelessness, revisiting income tax legislation and reforming criminal justice legislation to help incarcerated individuals return to society seamlessly.


If elected in November, Abrams will be the first African-American female governor in United States history. She will also be the first Democrat to hold the office in 16 years.

Who is Brian Kemp?


Brian P. Kemp, born November 2, 1963 in Athens, Georgia, currently serves as Georgia’s 27th secretary of state, a position Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed him to in 2010. Re-elected in 2014, Kemp will complete his second term in 2019.


Kemp is married to Marty Kemp, formerly Marty Argo, his wife of 24 years. Together, they have three daughters: Amy, Jarrett and Lucy. Kemp and his family reside in Kemp’s hometown of Athens, according to his campaign website.

Re-elected as Georgia's secretary of state in 2014, Kemp will complete his second term in 2019. Kemp and his family reside in Athens, Georgia, where Kemp grew up, went to college and started his first business. View a background video on Kemp above. // Credit: Kemp for Governor

Kemp owns and co-owns several small businesses, including Kemp Properties and Specialty Stone Supply. He played football in college and worked in construction for a period of time after graduating. A Christian, Kemp is a member of the Athens Emmanuel Episcopal Church.


Aside from his Republican candidacy for governor, Kemp is perhaps most well-known for his position as a Georgia state senator from 2003-2007. He served the 46th district, which includes Oconee County and parts of Walton and Clarke counties. He is also the former president of the Athens Area Homebuilders Association.


What is Kemp’s educational and political background?


Kemp graduated from Clarke Central High School in Athens and went on to attend the University of Georgia, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture.


Following the completion of his undergraduate career, Kemp became a construction worker. He later started his first small business with “only a shovel and a pick-up truck,” according to his campaign website. He “woke up before dawn – digging ditches, pouring concrete and hammering nails.”


Kemp’s first political endeavor began when he was elected state senator for District 46 in 2002. During his tenure, he served on several committees, including Public Safety and Homeland Security, Appropriations and Higher Education. He sponsored and co-sponsored many Senate bills, including SB 134, which decreased delinquent youth prison time for certain offenses, and SB 204, which allowed health care providers in the state to transmit medical records digitally.


Following his tenure in the state Senate, Kemp ran for agriculture commissioner of Georgia in 2006, but he lost to Republican Gary Black in the Republican primaries. Kemp officially re-entered the political arena when he was appointed secretary of state in 2010. The position had been left vacant by Republican Karen Handel, who resigned in late 2009 to focus on her gubernatorial campaign.


According to Ballotpedia, Georgia's secretary of state has a plethora of responsibilities, including supervising and monitoring elections, providing campaign finance disclosure and overseeing the licensing and registration of Georgia businesses.

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Brian Kemp is married to Marty Kemp, his wife of 24 years. They have 3 daughters, Amy, Jarrett and Lucy. With his family by his side, he plans to win Georgia’s governor’s race." // Image Credit: The New York Times

Kemp is only the third Republican in Georgia history to hold the secretary of state office, according to state archives, the other two being David Cotting from 1868-1873 and Karen Handel from 2007-2009.


Kemp is a strong proponent of cutting regulations, taxes and local business mandates in an effort to grow Georgia's economy. He is also a staunch Second Amendment advocate. Additionally, Kemp supports funding for mental health services, increasing teacher salaries and initiatives focused on deporting undocumented immigrants.


Kemp has also received widespread media attention for his campaign advertisements, which often include

explosions, guns, chainsaws, and messages about political

incorrectness and immigrant deportation.


Why is Kemp running for governor?


If elected governor, Kemp hopes to implement his “4 Point Plan to Put Georgians First.” The plan’s points are as follows:


1.     “Make Georgia #1 for Small Business” through workforce development and regulation reduction initiatives.


2.     “Reform State Government” through tax reform, tax audit initiatives and reductions in state spending.


3.     “Strengthen Rural Georgia” through the expansion of high-speed internet access, health care access, opportunities for rural areas, investment and development initiatives and support for the agricultural industry and small businesses.


4.     “Put Georgia First” through crime reduction initiatives, public school funding, teacher salary increases, stopping sanctuary cities, improving childhood literacy, protecting conservative values and lowering health care costs.


If elected in November, Kemp will be the third Republican to hold the office in 16 years.

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