The Democratic Caucus in Georgia’s House of Representatives today elected Stacey Abrams to serve as the leader and voice of the minority caucus. Abrams will become the first female to lead either party in the General Assembly – and the first African-American to lead the House Democrats.
“It is an honor and privilege to serve as Minority Leader in the House. I take this call to leadership very seriously and will devote myself to developing the tools our caucus needs to better communicate with the voters in their districts,” Abrams said. “That means ensuring that all the members of the Democratic Caucus get the support they need to do the work of serving their constituents. We must also continue to articulate a clear choice between Democrats and Republicans in Georgia. The recent election showed some realignment and has illuminated the areas where we have to put our focus for the future.”
In addition to choosing Abrams as Minority Leader, the Democratic Caucus also selected Doug McKillip, as caucus chairman; Carolyn Hugley, as whip; Billy Mitchell, deputy whip; Rashad Taylor as vice chairman; Stephanie Stuckey-Benfield, treasurer; and Debbie Buckner, secretary. The caucus also created the new position of Chairman Emeritus that will be held by Calvin Smyre.
“Many say the clearest message from last week’s election was a clamor for jobs and a rebound in the economy. I'd say that's the surface message. What Georgians want is economic security for their families - which is more than just a job. It's a job that pays well. It's an educational system that prepares their children to get those jobs. It's a transportation system that let's them spend more time at home than on 675. Any party that only hears "jobs" is going to be in trouble in the long run. And it will be the responsibility of the Democratic Caucus to show Georgians what they could have and what they're getting instead,” Abrams said.
Abrams, a tax attorney, said she is looking forward to working with Chairman Larry O'Neal, whom the Republican Caucus elected earlier this week to serve as their leader.
“I have served with Chairman O’Neal on Ways and Means for the last 4 years, and I think we share a common sense belief in putting policy over politics. The state is facing a structural deficit of at least $1.5 billion. This year alone, we masked that deficit with $979 million in stimulus funds that won't be there in July. Georgia won't recover by creating a regressive tax system that punishes the middle and lower-middle class. And we won't recover by hiking our spending on tax loopholes at the expense of family farms in the Lower Flint or struggling small businesses in the Piedmont. We must lower our taxes in a responsible manner that increases our ability to serve the citizens of Georgia,” Abrams said.