5 Highlights From Stacey Abrams’ State of the Union Response

Democrat Stacey Abrams may have narrowly lost her race to be Georgia’s governor last November, but she has won the hearts and minds of numerous Americans. And on February 5, the entire nation understood why.

As Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said when he invited her to deliver the Democratic response to Trump’s State of the Union speech, “Donald Trump is the warmup act for the real deal: Stacey Abrams. She’s an amazing person with an amazing story.” 

And her speech did not disappoint. Abrams spoke forcefully, but with great warmth and sincerity — qualities decidedly lacking in Trump’s address. Now we all know why there was so much enthusiasm around her bid to be the first African-American woman governor in the U.S.

Instead, Abrams became the first black woman to deliver a State of the Union response.

In a brilliant opening, Abrams spoke about her personal story and growing up in the Deep South. We learned that her father once gave away his only coat to a homeless man. When his wife asked why he had done that, he explained that this man was all alone, whereas Abrams’ father knew that he had family and friends to support him.

“These were our family values: faith, service, education and responsibility,” Abrams said, before using her father’s story as a microcosm of what we must all do, as a nation.

“We do not succeed alone,” she stated. “In these United States, when times are tough, we can persevere because our friends and neighbors will come for us. Our first responders will come for us.”

Having established this central theme, Abrams spoke on several related topics. Here are just five highlights.

1. Voting rights

Voting rights is a deeply important issue for Abrams, who abandoned her race for governor of Georgia without a formal concession. She did this because her Republican rival Brian Kemp, who happened to also be Georgia’s secretary of state and thus supervisor of the election, was guilty of voter suppression and ballot rigging.

Abrams has since started a well-funded advocacy group, Fair Fight, which is dedicated to expanding voting rights across the country. In her speech, she spoke passionately on the issue:

This is the next battle for our democracy, one where all eligible citizens can have their say about the vision we want for our country. We must reject the cynicism that says allowing every eligible voter to be cast and counted is a “power grab.”

This was a direct reference to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s response to House Democrats’ efforts to expand voting rights, including making Election Day a national holiday.

2. The government shutdown

Abrams did not mince words on the recent government shutdown, either: “The shutdown was a stunt engineered by the President of the United States, one that defied every tenet of fairness and abandoned not just our people – but our values.” 

Abrams spoke of her seven years as leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, recalling times when she and her Republican colleagues held differing opinions. She emphasized that they still came together to work on compromise, rather than shutting down. Abrams herself recently spent time distributing meals to federal workers who were furloughed under the shutdown.

3. Immigration

Of course, immigration was a central issue in the shutdown, and this gave rise to one of Abrams’ most powerful lines: “We must all embrace that from agriculture to healthcare to entrepreneurship, America is made stronger by the presence of immigrants – not walls.”

Trump’s racist, unnecessary and medieval wall took up 20 percent of the State of the Union address, as he continued his lies about the dangers at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Abrams berated the current situation the border: caging infants, tearing families apart and losing track of children. She noted that former presidents, including both Reagan and Obama, knew that treating people with compassion at the border is not the same as open borders.

4. Health care

Health care is a personal concern for Abrams: She has gone into debt taking care of her father, who is battling prostrate cancer. She referred also to people forced to choose between paying rent or purchasing medicine, as well as to the horrifying statistic that black women are three to four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women.

Abrams could have added that one in three GoFundMe campaigns attempt to raise money for medical bills. And yet, Republicans keep working to destroy the Affordable Care Act.

5. Diversity

Diversity was also a central theme in Abrams’ response, including these rousing words at the conclusion:

America wins by fighting for our shared values against all enemies: foreign and domestic. That is who we are – and when we do so, never wavering – the state of our union will always be strong.

Her delivery was brilliant, and she remained upbeat. If there were a prize for best response to the State of the Union in recent years, Abrams would win hands down. Remember Joe Kennedy’s chapsticked lips last year? Or the moment in 2013 that Marco Rubio reached off screen for a tiny water bottle, unfortunately maintaining eye contact with his audience at the same time?

If you haven’t listened to Stacey Abrams’ entire speech yet, do yourself a favor and watch it.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

41 comments

heather g
heather g2 months ago

Thank you to Chuck Schumer for inviting her to deliver the Democratic response to Trump’s State of the Union speech

SEND
Vincent T
Vincent T2 months ago

Thank you

SEND
Belinda Lang
Belinda Lang2 months ago

Thumbs up for Stacey Abrams.

SEND
Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini2 months ago

Rhoberta E
Thanks!
And yes, watch out for the hoards of drug dealers, child smugglers, rapists, murderers and other bad hombres flocking into your country!!!!!!

SEND
Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini2 months ago

Jacey Mack
Yes, maybe you'd better post your comment again so we can judge. Though if it gets flagged a second time I suppose we only have window of a few minutes to read it....

SEND
Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E2 months ago

@ Jacey mack
Now tell C2 members what your post really said. You basically trashed her looks NOTHING to do with her speech. "does the phrase "Gap toothed " etc ring a bell?
LUNA !!

SEND
Jacey Mack
Jacey Mack2 months ago

@Annabel Bedini probably because people got butt hurt over what i said and flagged comments i made they were not rude or shameful but i just said i didnt like her views but hey to each there own i guess

SEND
Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E2 months ago

@ Annabel Bedini
The post from the person you referenced WAS inappropriate not because of POV, but because of her disgusting comments ABOUT Ms. Abrams. I didn't flag her post but apparently others did.
As for david f and HIS comments about Democrats not wanting border security, please check that out too. I have not heard ONE Democrat against border security .only against a "wall" that may not be the complete answer..
Personally I'm worried about the Northern border and US citizens trying to escape from trump ( Humour)

SEND
Lisa M
Lisa M2 months ago

Thanks.

SEND
Lisa M
Lisa M2 months ago

Thanks.

SEND