ATLANTA - Less than 24 hours after officially announcing she will run for Georgia governor in 2022, Stacey Abrams sat down for an interview about her decision with FOX 5.
"I think Georgia has amazing opportunities ahead, but we need real leadership to get there," said Abrams. "Leadership that actually plans to invest in all of Georgia and all Georgians and that is not the leadership we have in the Governor's Mansion right now."
Abrams ran for governor in 2018 and lost to current Governor Brian Kemp by fewer than 55,000 votes.
The theme of her campaign launch video was "One Georgia."
"My mission is to tie us all together and to build a better Georgia together. 'One Georgia' means that we serve everyone whether they agree with us, whether they look like us, whether they come from the places we come from, we should all be headed in the same direction and that is success," Abrams explained.
One of the major issues currently facing the state is violent crime. Abrams said she would address that by working hand-in-hand with law enforcement to make sure they have the resources they need, as well as the underlying issues like education and economics.
"Corollary to that is gun violence," said Abrams. "Part of that is the fact that Georgia has weakened its gun laws under Brian Kemp, and we have seen an erosion of safety for our communities. That is not something that should be sustainable in this state. Gun safety does not mean taking away a single person's weapon or their right to own. I believe in the 2nd Amendment, but I also believe in gun safety."
Abrams also said she would implement a more "aggressive" vaccination program in the state and allow local communities to build their virus responses.
"Rather than picking fights with mayors, which is what the governor has spent the last two years doing. Instead of picking fights, he needs to be picking these better battles and that means working with local communities to understand their needs, to understand their hesitation, to understand their access and actually investing," Abrams explained.
For years Abrams has advocated for Georgia to expand Medicaid to cover the estimated half-million Georgians in the "coverage gap." She said that would give more communities access to medical care.
"If we want to improve the lives of rural Georgia in particular, pouring resources in to improve access to healthcare and to anchor communities so they can attract new jobs. Jobs don't come to places where you can't find doctors. We have to make certain that rural Georgia and all of Georgia has the full bevy of opportunities and that means Medicaid expansion," said Abrams.
Gov. Kemp will seek re-election in 2022, but he also faces primary challenges from Republicans Vernon Jones and Kandiss Taylor. Rumors have also swirled that former U.S. Senator David Perdue is considering entering the race.
Jones released a statement Thursday expressing that he is "the only solution to the Stacey Abrams problem." The statement reads in part:
"Stacey Abrams joined the race for governor with plans to introduce the same failed, liberal agenda in Georgia that is hurting Americans in every corner of the country."
Taylor also responded to Abrams' announcement tweeting:
"We will have our first female governor. A true Georgian who represents the people, morality, the nuclear family, and protects the Constitution at all cost. I just happen to be the one who stepped up and has worked as hard as humanly possible."
"I'm going to let the Republicans fight among themselves," said Abrams. "I'm going to fight for Georgia."