After U.S. President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union Address tonight, the Democratic Party will present the traditional opposition rebuttal. Tonight, the address will be delivered by Stacey Abrams, who made waves last year in her run for governor of Georgia.
Abrams was the first black woman nominated in a governor’s race by a major party and previously served as minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives. Here are some other facts you may not know about her:
- Before running for governor, Abrams wrote eight romantic suspense novels under the pen name Selena Montgomery. Her characters featured strong, accomplished, (and beautiful) women, according to a Washington Post article. Her novel Secrets and Lies also has the distinction of being responsible for all the Google results for the phrase “sexy ethnobotanist.”
- Abrams was an entrepreneur and inventor. She was the cofounder of Nourish, which the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in 2011 sold bottles of water designed with extra room for busy parents of infants to mix in baby formula. She was also listed as an inventor on a Nourish patent for a “wide-neck bottle” design.
- She’s been unusually forthcoming about her financial struggles. In April 2018, she wrote in an opinion piece published by Fortune that she owed more than $170,000 in student loan and credit card debt and was on a repayment plan with the IRS to pay more than $50,000 in taxes. Family issues and student expenses all played a role, she argued, using the situation to highlight financial inequities facing women and people of color.
- Abrams will be the first black woman to deliver the SOTU rebuttal and the first person to give the speech while not in public office. But it will be far from her first appearance on television: She’s been on national TV since at least 1993, when as a Spelman College student she appeared on C-SPAN to speak on the 30th anniversary of the March on Washington.
.@staceyabrams gives Dem response #SOTUResponse to #SOTU tonight. Her first time on C-SPAN? Over a quarter century ago. August 28, 1993. Addressing 30th anniversary March on Washington. She was a junior at @SpelmanCollege … Introduced by Lane Kirkland, then president @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/xCgpLzSPr6
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) February 5, 2019