For the First Time, One Georgia Includes All of Us

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photo: Jamie Lamor Thompson (Shutterstock)

I love the state of Georgia.

The people of our state represent the nation’s best, ours diverse cultures and traditions woven together in a patchwork quilt that continues to attract newcomers from near and far. Economic opportunity in both urban and rural areas of the state is unparalleled, and a legacy of forward progress lives on as a core ethos for the individuals and institutions that call the state home.

For many, including me, Georgia is where dreams come true.

Today’s Republican leaders, however, seem intent on giving so many Georgians nightmares instead.

Hard-working families across the state are struggling to make ends meet while the wealthy enjoy tax breaks. MMillions of Georgians lack access to safe and affordable health care, and eligible voters are forced to negotiate additional hurdles to cast their ballots.

The people of Georgia have a choice to seize the moment by electing leaders who will help steer the state on a path that will ensure that all Georgians – regardless of their background – can thrive.

One of those leaders is Stacey Abrams, who is running for Georgia’s next governor. Your 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, where all residents can contribute and enjoy the benefits of our vibrant state.

This begins with relieving the financial pain that many families in our state are currently feeling. Stacey Abrams uses the state’s $6 billion budget surplus at last. It’s time for a governor to exercise his power to put money in people’s pockets and give our communities a state stimulus check. As governor, Stacey Abrams will do just that.

We also need to make sure there are well-paying jobs that are accessible to anyone who is looking for them.

The non-partisan infrastructure law is intended to invest billion Putting dollars into the next generation of Georgia’s infrastructure and creating thousands of well-paying jobs for those who will help build it. The next governor needs to make sure that justice is at the heart of distributing that money and creating those jobs. Developing the workforce to fill these positions means investing in skills-based learning pathways. That’s why Stacey Abrams’ plan calls for a free technical college and 20,000 new apprenticeships — all to ensure Georgia people are ready to compete for good jobs and provide for their families.

While small businesses encourage economic mobility in communities across the state, there are significant barriers that stand in the way of Georgians — particularly women and minorities — in starting a business. Stacey Abrams’ One Georgia Plan acknowledges the existence of these barriers – but refuses to accept them any longer.

As governor, Stacey Abrams will establish a $10 million fund to provide financial and technical support to aspiring founders. And One Georgia means companies owned by underrepresented founders will no longer be overlooked by the state when looking for work. Stacey Abrams’ vision for Georgia requires that we have the best at the table so our state can perform at its best.

These actions will foster an inclusive economy and help hardworking families thrive across Georgia.

But to be successful, families must also have access to quality health care. For far For too many Georgians, access to quality healthcare remains tied to financial status. Around 1.5 million Georgians are without health insurance, give Georgia the fifth highest uninsured rate in the nation. Not to mention that the dangerous Republican abortion ban puts women – especially black and low-income women – at risk.

After witnessing Republican leaders fail to expand Medicaid, Stacey Abrams declared once and for all that every Georgian — no matter how much money they have in the bank — deserves access to quality, affordable healthcare.

Medicaid expansion is at the heart of Stacey Abrams’ One Georgia plan. This would bring healthcare to 500,000 currently uninsured Georgians, reduce healthcare costs across the board and make important investments in maternal healthcare. This is the recipe we need for a healthier Georgia.

A healthy Georgia must have a healthy democracy, and Stacey Abrams’ vision is a state that makes it easier – not harder – for people to vote, while ensuring the security of our elections. SB 202 has already imposed itself unnecessarily restrictions and challenged thousands of voters, but Georgians have proven be determined to get their prayers to the ballot box anyway. We owe it to our friends, families and neighbors to take a firm stand against further attempts to suppress the vote, but there is more we can do. As governor, Stacey Abrams will continue her fight to make voting — and registration 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 inhabitants lack these 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—who will help make this a reality.

Gevin Reynolds is an incoming law student at Yale and resides in Smyrna, Georgia. The opinions expressed here are his personal views.

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