Stacey Abrams finally demolishes Georgias Republican governor

INTERVIEW: Brian interviews Georgia’s Democratic nominee for Governor, Stacey Abrams, about Brian Kemp’s efforts to position himself as a moderate, the impacts that the Republicans’ voter suppression law is having right now in Georgia, and what she’d do on day one as governor.

Today we have the democratic nominee for governor of georgia stacey abrams thank you so much for taking the time thank you for having me so brian kemp has positioned himself as a moderate in this race based on his interactions with trump is he no brian kemp is a far riot extremist who until january of 2021 called himself a trump conservative and his behavior

Actually reveals much more than any rhetoric he’s leaning on today this is a man who in his first year in office banned abortion in the state of georgia after six weeks in order to win a primary he weakened gun laws so much so that we’ve seen a 23 percent increase in gun violence he has he slashed a billion dollars from education he has refused to deploy 400

Million dollars for affordable housing and he refuses to expand medicaid and provide health care coverage to half a million georgians not because we can’t afford it but because he doesn’t believe they deserve it these are the behaviors the actions and the principles of a hard-right conservative one act of not committing treason does not change the narrative

Or the reality of who he is you know with that said brian kemp also supported and signed sb 202 into law that’s the republican-led legislature’s voter suppression bill what’s been the impact of that piece of legislation we are fielding calls every single day from voters who are confused about how to fill out their absentee ballot applications especially senior

Citizens who for 15 years automatically receive this application from people who are disabled who rely on absentee ballots to participate in elections from naturalized citizens who have limited english proficiency who are more comfortable filling out those ballots at home and because he said he was frustrated with the results of 2020 and 2021 he made it harder

To vote absentee we know he also made it illegal to get water water in line when in the state of georgia we average between four to eight hour lines for people of color namely black voters he made it easier for white supremacists to challenge voting because they can now go into a county elections board and hand in a list of names and say i don’t think these people

Deserve to be voters and in these counties they are now required to consider every single challenge and so far more than 64 000 challenges have been lodged against voters and we are noticing that they are disproportionately char targeting people of color okay so i want to build on those county elections boards obviously sb 202 allowed republicans to to reorganize

Uh local elections boards in spalding county for example the democratic majority of three black women was replaced by a white republican majority and the chairman of that board is now someone who endorsed trump’s stolen election claims that was just one of i believe six county boards that have been reorganized by republicans thus far how concerned should we be

About this and is there any indication that this reorganization hasn’t had any impact on voting rights already well to start with the impact on voting rights yes we’ve seen some of these counties eliminate access to sunday voting because sunday voting was disproportionately used by black voters in the last few election cycles but the larger concern is that this

Is part of a national framework that brian kemp has been the lead architect of the voting rights act has been under attack for years but we know that with the 2013 shelby decision we lost section five with the bronovich decision in 2021 we lost part of section two which really looks at racial animus and now there’s another case called the merrell case before

The supreme court that will essentially eliminate section two of the voting rights act which eliminates the voting rights act what that will mean in the next legislative session in the next gubernatorial term that the governor alone with the state legislature has the ability to set voting policies and voting rights and if they can control both the laws and the

Implementation with absolutely no judicial review because the voting rights act no longer requires it someone who has made his living on voter suppression can now expand his franchise by taking away hours just to go back to what you mentioned before about the tens of thousands of complaints that have been lodged with county elections boards is there any any way

To determine or do we know right now how many of those have been accepted especially given that they’re disproportionately against people of color so we know in gwinnett county it was about 37 000 that were filed they were able to quickly process at least 22 000 and kick them out in cobb county it was recently i think about 1500 that they dismissed but here’s

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The problem we were three weeks out from election day we’re less than a week out from early voting we don’t have an extra group of people in these county elections boards running these elections so every one of these claims that has to be adjudicated is being done by the same person who also has to set up the ballot boxes make sure the polling places are ready

We don’t have the staffing for this and they know it because they also made it illegal for these counties to apply for grants to help them find additional funding and so we have to recognize that this isn’t one or two pieces this is a systemic attack on voter access and brian kemp is the lead architect he did it for eight years as secretary of state and he has

Proudly proclaimed the same opportunity he likes to say making it hard to cheat although he also said there was no cheating and so either you’re lying then or you’re lying now and we know that the intention is to make it more difficult for voters especially voters of color and younger voters to access the ballot how has the issue of abortion changed the calculus

In this race in georgia it’s been dramatic we know that there are some outlier polls that in republican polls shockingly the republican is winning but in almost every other poll we are seeing dramatic increases in women we are seeing that women are saying this issue matters and we know that if you look at just the absentee ballot applications that have made it

Through the process it used to be that roughly 50 to 53 percent were from women now we’re hitting 60 percent from women and we know that this is a very strong signal that women are terrified they’re terrified not only of the law as it stands but the fact that brian kemp says he doesn’t actually believe in the exemptions for rape or incest that under this law they

Can be investigated for miscarriage and that in the state of georgia right now pharmacists have the right to reject your prescription because they ideologically disagree with you and the reason this is so terrifying is that yes those of us who can go from you know cvs and take our prescription over to walgreens congratulations but imagine if you live in one of

The 100 rural counties where you only have one pharmacist and that’s the only pharmacist who’s willing to work with you on pricing these are families being held hostage women being held hostage you know i know that obviously abortion is a huge issue if not the number one issue in this midterm cycle but it’s also not the only issue what’s been most resonant with

The voters that you’ve spoken to aside from that issue of abortion so everyone is concerned about inflation and the economy people are in pain but what we have to recognize is that inflation is a global issue and so the best thing a governor can do is reduce the cost that the governor can actually influence that’s housing health care and education and on all

Three metrics brian kemp refuses to act georgia has the money to create need-based aid in the state of georgia to reduce student debt he won’t spend it georgia has the money to actually attack affordable housing issues he won’t spend it 400 million dollars sitting unspent because he won’t spend the money and we know with health care georgia is one of only 12

States in the nation that refuses to expand medicaid and in real terms this means that we’ve lost six hospitals including a level one trauma center in a state that only has five to begin with so the entire atlanta region of 5.7 million people has one level one trauma center left but on top of that 1700 people are about to lose their jobs and community members

Who simply need you know access to a doctor are now going to be told once again that their health care costs are going to go up because brian kemp doesn’t want to accept the money they’ve already paid into the system 3.5 billion dollars now what does georgia look like under a governor kemp versus governor abrams with governor kemp we have seen in the last four

Years he doesn’t actually care about these issues and more importantly when given the opportunity when given the resources he refuses to help but he has also spent the last four years attacking our freedoms our freedom to vote our freedom to choose our freedom to be safe and secure in our persons he has weakened gun laws and made it less safe for families to

Move around the state of georgia a governor abrams is going to be a governor for more opportunity more money in your pockets and more freedom as governor i will expand medicaid and make sure that families facing health care crises like cancer or diabetes actually get the health care that they need for less than two dollars a day that’s what we can do as governor

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I will expand and make certain that we are investing in affordable housing both rental housing and the ability to buy a house without having to you know wait for a fire sale i’m going to make sure our kids can go to school and get apprenticeships if they don’t want to go to college they can go to technical college for free and that we have need-based aid because

We’re one of only two states in the country that does not provide that kind of financial aid and last but not least i want to make certain that we can make a good living whether you work for yourself or someone else and that means closing what is right now a 100 year economic parity gap between people of color and majority communities 48 of the population is

People of color but we’re only 12.2 percent of the business revenue the governor can close that gap in 15 years but the current governor his response to this being an issue for the last 20 years is that he’s going to study it i like to say he can cheat off of my paper we know the answer we just need a governor willing to do the work no data shows that about 95

Percent of georgians are now registered to vote this will obviously be the first midterm cycle where that number is in play do you think that we’re going to see another record-breaking turnout number from this state just like we did in 2020 obviously for the general election i i think so if we look back at 2018 in my first race we actually had the highest number

Of democrats voting in the state’s history and it wasn’t quite the highest number for republicans but it was the highest number for democrats and we lost by about 55 000 votes we know that we have built on those numbers year over year including 1.6 million new voters being added to the role since 2018 and when people are hearing the polling they need to remember

A lot of those folks aren’t being considered in the polling polls are a snapshot they’re not a predictor the question is who are you taking a picture of and when you look at the picture of the new voters who are on these rolls and we do the work of turning them out this will absolutely be a record-breaking and we hope a history setting election have you heard

From any republicans or independents since you’ve been on the campaign trail oh absolutely especially republican women who are devastated by brian kemp’s decision to ban abortion they understand that this is an economic issue you asked the earlier question they know know that women who are forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term are four times more likely

To be impoverished they are twice as likely to be on food stamps within five years they are sixty percent less likely to have full-time employment and that’s a real economic issue they are terrified of what’s going to happen to the businesses we do have and that’s coming from men and women we’ve already lost 50 million dollars because of brian kemp’s gun bill we

Lost a hundred million dollars because of his voter suppression law and we stand to lose a 4.4 billion dollar entertainment industry not only because of abortion but because he also doesn’t believe in marriage equality he supports the legislation that would allow people to be rejected based on their sexual orientation and because of the supreme court’s current

Consideration of 303 creative which most people aren’t paying attention to this case should they find the way we think they will it will say that public accommodations laws do not include sexual orientation and in real and practical terms that means that a person in the lgbtq plus community can be kicked out of a hotel can be denied service in a restaurant can

Be refused service at a pharmacy simply based on their sexual orientation and brian kemp knows that georgia is one of only five states in the nation that does not have a law to protect them at the state level we will lose the entertainment industry if that happens and so independents republicans people who normally would be absolutely on his side are absolutely

Paying attention and they know that this this is for all the marbles this is this is a generational moment and by the way just for people who listen to that idea that that um that you know members of the lgbt community could be kicked out of a hotel room for being gay for example and they say oh well that’s just that’s just democrats being hysterical that is the

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Exact same line that they use when democrats would say that roe was in danger of being overturned and now look at where we are so you know we we ignore these risks at our own peril what’s the most memorable moment that you’ve had on the campaign trail so far so this past weekend i had this amazing juxtaposition of a day where i was at or this weekend i was with

A latino community the aapi community i went to the atlanta arab festival i went to the pride parade and then i went to one music fest and seeing the remarkable diversity of our state laid out so beautifully and knowing that with one job with one vote all of these communities will have access to so much more i know this to be true it’s why i’m so intentional

About reaching out to these communities but it’s also a deep reminder of what’s at stake if we don’t do this right because if we don’t have a governor who respects and celebrates diversity these are all communities that will instead find themselves not only on the losing end of issues but they will be the victims of and the targets of policies to create harm and

To your point about 303 creative let’s be clear clarence thomas said here are the things he intends to do after he got rid of roe v wade and this was on the list voting rights was on the list we know that we need a governor who actually wants to protect our rights not attack our freedoms now what’s your message to those republicans and independents who may never

Have voted for a democrat before but who see what’s happening in the gop and recognize that uh it’s not great like what do you say to those people four years ago in iran i was known for the fact that i work very well across the aisle i have very strong convictions that are grounded in my political philosophy but i know that people don’t care about our politics

They care about their lives i want to help improve people’s lives we have a 6.6 billion dollar surplus that we can either squander by giving it to the wealthiest in tax cuts or we can invest and spend on the issues we’ve been complaining about for 20 years improving education improving health care improving access to housing making sure that people can make a

Good living and take care of themselves and their families invest in public safety but also in criminal justice reform invest in common sense gun laws we have an opportunity to do the things we need to do and as a democrat leading a state that has a republican legislature the best bet to make sure that we come to compromise is to make sure no one gets to get their

Own way i’m the best way to make certain that we have to work together i’ve done it before and i’ll do it again let’s finish with this uh what would day one of an abrams governorship look like for the people of georgia what’s the very first thing you would do in office medicaid expansion medicaid expansion provides health care to half a million georgians and what

We have to understand that this is a financing mechanism we’re all paying the bill right now it’s a 2.7 billion sorry 27 billion dollar bill that we keep paying over the last decade and if we expand medicaid that bill gets paid because we’ve already put the money in i will also be able to then create 64 000 jobs this is not hyperbole when chris christie did this

In new jersey he created 50 000 jobs mike pence created 30 000 jobs if mike pence and i agree it must be the right thing to do it’ll be my day one job and of course how can we help we need folks to sign up and support this campaign please go to stacy if you slash voting you can find out about voting if you’re a georgian if you want to volunteer just

Do slash volunteer and talk about this race talk about how important governors are brian one thing that’s so amazing about the show that you do is that people need to understand that politics don’t just happen in dc if your real life matters to you governors are the most important positions people hold that no one understands and with the supreme court sending

All of our rights and protections down to the state level we need someone at the state level ready to defend us and to defeat those who will target us perfectly put we’ll leave it there stacy abrams thank you so much for taking the time and good luck uh in this last last month of campaigning thanks for having me

Transcribed from video
Stacey Abrams finally demolishes Georgia's Republican governor By Brian Tyler Cohen