Democratic state Rep. Renitta Shannon enters race for Georgia’s lieutenant governor

State Rep. Renitta Shannon, a Decatur Democrat, has entered the race for Georgia's lieutenant governor. Courtesy photo.

State Rep. Renitta Shannon, a Decatur Democrat, has entered the race for Georgia's lieutenant governor. Courtesy photo.

Another Democratic state representative has added her name to the list of candidates running for lieutenant governor.

State Rep. Renitta Shannon, D-Decatur, announced her candidacy for the state’s second-highest office Monday with a campaign video.

Shannon said in a press release that she was running “because regressive policies have shaped a harsh reality for the majority of Georgians.”

“As a proven fighter, I will continue to bring my decisive leadership and bold action to the Capitol as a statewide officer,” she said.

Shannon said she will center her campaign on championing policies such as increasing the state’s minimum wage, expanding Medicaid — the public health program that provides care to the poor and disabled — and ending mass incarceration.

The three-term member of the Georgia House has made a name for herself by taking part in protests against many policies pushed by Republicans, including an overhaul to the state’s elections system that won approval this year and a restrictive anti-abortion law that passed in 2019.

In her campaign video, Shannon said she was spurred to activism after the police officers who were caught on video beating Rodney King in California in 1992 were acquitted and, when in college, she struggled to make ends meet while working as a server.

“The experiences of my life are the result of deliberate policies that have continued to fail all of us time and time again,” she said in the video. “We need leaders that will advance progressive policies that work for all of us.”

If elected, Shannon, who is bisexual, would be the first openly LGBTQ candidate and first Black woman to win a statewide election in Georgia.

Shannon is running for the office after Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Republican, announced earlier this year that he would not seek a second term.

In the Democratic primary, Shannon will face state Rep. Erick Allen of Smyrna; Kolbey Gardner, a party strategist; state Rep. Derrick Jackson of Tyrone; and Bryan Miller, grandson of former Gov. Zell Miller.

Three Republicans have declared their candidacy for their party’s nomination for lieutenant governor: state Sen. Burt Jones of Jackson; state Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller of Gainesville; and Jeanne Seaver, a party activist.