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Interview with Stacey Abrams, August 25, 2015

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:48 - Role as minority leader

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Partial Transcript: Before we get into those heavy items, I would like to ask you if you would explain to us your role as minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives.

Segment Synopsis: Abrams outlines what her position as minority leader in the Georgia House of Representatives entails. Abrams also details her relationships with Republican leaders through her status as minority leader, including David Ralston and Nathan Deal.

Keywords: Chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party; DuBose Porter; House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee; Senate minority leader; Speaker of the House of Representatives; Steve Henson; accountability; bipartisanship; collaboration; legislation; opportunity school districts

00:07:30 - Reforming the HOPE scholarship

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk for a minute about the changes in the HOPE scholarship.

Segment Synopsis: Abrams describes how she cooperated with then-governor Nathan Deal to reform the HOPE scholarship in Georgia. She emphasizes Deal's willingness to listen to her instead of ignoring her simply because she was in the minority party.

Keywords: Stacey Evans; charter schools; financial aid; needs-based scholarship; proprietary schools; technical colleges

00:12:23 - Charter schools in Georgia

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Partial Transcript: Well, education, transportation, and healthcare are subjects that are almost always on the minds of Georgian voters.

Segment Synopsis: Abrams addresses public schools' failure to provide the necessary resources to educate poor or special needs children. She then talks about charter schools in Georgia, stressing that while some are successful at helping children, the state should not interfere in their administration.

Keywords: Drew Charter School; expulsion; local school districts; magnet schools

00:22:09 - Common Core and opportunity school districts

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Partial Transcript: Common Core.

Segment Synopsis: Abrams briefly gives her opinion on Common Core, saying it would guarantee children learn the same material no matter what school district they are in. Abrams then explains why she opposes the opportunity school district plan, specifically its centralization of authority toward the governor and away from local school districts.

Keywords: failing schools; funding; local administration; state board of education

00:28:50 - Voter registration and engagement

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Partial Transcript: We know that Georgia is a red state, meaning it is strongly Republican.

Segment Synopsis: Abrams emphasizes that both Republicans and Democrats should be working to get voters registered Georgia. Abrams then describes her plans to engage those voters in the coming elections and to get them to vote Democratic.

Keywords: 2014 Senatorial race between David Purdue and Michelle Nunn; Voting Rights Act of 1965; demography; nonpartisan registration

00:34:59 - Reapportionment

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk about reapportionment.

Segment Synopsis: Abrams explains how the reapportionment process is done in Georgia in a manner that favors Republicans over Democrats and fails to represent people's interests. Abrams then discusses how Democrats have been able to overcome the barriers set by redistricting and how they can reclaim power in Georgia in the future.

Keywords: 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election; Brookhaven, Georgia; Gwinnett County, Georgia; diversity; purple state; racial gerrymandering; redistricting commission; resegregation

00:43:08 - Transportation

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Partial Transcript: Now a word or two about transportation.

Segment Synopsis: Abrams states that aside from fixing roads, Georgia also needs to rework its public transportation system to provide people with more options. She also says that tax increases are necessary to fund these needed transportation projects.

Keywords: Atlanta perimeter; Atlanta, Georgia; Clayton County, Georgia; DeKalb County, Georgia; Fulton County, Georgia; Hartsfield-Jackson Airport; MARTA; Savannah, Georgia; businesses; mass transit in Atlanta

00:49:57 - Medicaid expansion / Legislative goals

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Partial Transcript: Georgia falls into the category of being one of those states whose residents are most in need of Medicaid services, yet the state has refused to expand the program.

Segment Synopsis: Abrams makes her case for expanding Medicaid in Georgia, citing economic and moral reasons for support. Abrams then recaps her legislative goals, adding that she believes Georgia needs to expand its infrastructure, including expanding access to public services such as the internet, natural gas, and sewage, among others.

Keywords: Georgia General Assembly; hospital failure; job expansion; rural hospitals; uncompensated care