I love the state of Georgia.
The people of our state represent the nation’s best, our diverse cultures and traditions woven together as a patchwork quilt that continues to attract newcomers from near and far. The economic opportunities across both urban and rural areas of the state are unparalleled, and a legacy of forward progress lives on as a central ethos for the individuals and institutions who call the state home.
For many – including for me – Georgia is where dreams are made.
However, today’s state Republican leaders appear hellbent on instead creating nightmares for so many Georgians.
Hard-working families across the state are struggling to make ends meet while the rich enjoy tax breaks. Millions of Georgians lack access to safe and affordable healthcare, and eligible voters are being forced to jump through additional hoops to cast a ballot.
The people of Georgia have the choice to meet the moment by electing leaders who will help set the state on a path that ensures that all Georgians – regardless of background – can thrive.
One such leader is Stacey Abrams, running to be the next governor of Georgia. Her vision for “One Georgia” gives a Black man like me hope for the future of our state. It makes me believe in a Georgia of tomorrow in which all residents can contribute to and enjoy the benefits of our vibrant state.
This starts with helping ease the financial pain that many families across our state are feeling right now. Utilizing the state’s $6 billion budget surplus, Stacey Abrams will place money in pockets via the authorization of $1 billion in tax rebates and the establishment of an earned income tax credit – finally. It’s time for a governor to exercise their power to put money in people’s pockets and give a state-level stimulus check to our communities. As governor, Stacey Abrams will do just that.
We also must ensure that there are good-paying jobs available and accessible to all who seek to find them.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is set to invest billions of dollars in the next generation of Georgia’s infrastructure and create thousands of good-paying jobs for those who will help build it. The next governor must ensure that equity is at the center of how that money is allocated and how those jobs are created. Developing a workforce to fill these jobs means investing in skills-based educational pathways. That’s why Stacey Abrams’s plan includes free technical college and 20,000 new apprenticeships – all to ensure that the people of Georgia are ready to compete for good jobs and provide for their families.
While small businesses power economic mobility in communities across the state, there are significant barriers that stand in the way of Georgians – especially women and minorities – seeking to start a business. Stacey Abrams’s One Georgia plan acknowledges – but refuses to any longer accept – the existence of those barriers.
As governor, Stacey Abrams will create a $10 million fund to provide financial and technical assistance to aspiring founders. And, One Georgia means that companies owned by underrepresented founders will no longer be overlooked by the state when seeking contracts. Stacey Abrams’s vision for Georgia requires that we have the best at the table to help our state perform at its best.
These actions will promote an inclusive economy and help hard-working families all across Georgia thrive.
But to thrive, families also must have access to high-quality healthcare. For far too many Georgians, access to high-quality healthcare remains tied to financial status. Around 1.5 million Georgians are without health insurance, giving Georgia the fifth highest uninsured rate in the nation. Not to mention, the Republicans’ dangerous abortion ban puts women – especially women of color and low-income women – at risk.
After witnessing Republican leaders fail time and time again to expand Medicaid, Stacey Abrams has declared once and for all that every Georgian – no matter how much money they have in the bank – deserves access to high-quality, affordable healthcare.
Expanding Medicaid is central to Stacey Abrams’s One Georgia plan. Doing so would deliver healthcare coverage to 500,000 currently uninsured Georgians, reduce healthcare costs universally, and make critical investments in maternal healthcare. This is the prescription we need for a healthier Georgia.
A healthy Georgia must have a healthy democracy, and Stacey Abrams’s vision is for a state that makes it easier – not harder – for people to vote, while maintaining the security of our elections. S.B. 202 has already imposed unnecessary restrictions and challenged thousands of voters, but Georgians have proven to be determined to take their prayers to the ballot box anyway. We owe it to our friends, families, and neighbors to stand squarely against additional attempts to suppress the vote, but we can do more. As governor, Stacey Abrams will continue her fight to make voting – and registering to vote – more accessible.
In many ways, Georgia has become a tale of two states – one whose residents have money in the bank, a job, health insurance, and a seat at the table of our democracy; the other whose residents lack those things. I believe in One Georgia, and I hope that the people of Georgia will join me in electing Democratic leaders like Stacey Abrams – up and down the ballot – who will help make it a reality.
Gevin Reynolds is an incoming law student at Yale and a resident of Smyrna, Georgia. The opinions expressed herein are his personal views.