‘Georgia’s AOC’ aims for state Senate seat in Gwinnett

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

‘I’m done waiting,’ says Democratic activist Nabilah Islam

The U.S. House race between U.S. Reps. Carolyn Bourdeaux and Lucy McBath won’t be the only Gwinnett-based battle over the direction of Democrats in Georgia. A state Senate contest could also help shape the future of the party’s progressive wing.

Democratic activist Nabilah Islam entered the race for an open Georgia Senate seat on Tuesday with a pledge to fight for racial justice, expand voting rights and expand Medicaid. She will face state Rep. Beth Moore, a second-term legislator, in the newly redrawn seat.

“I act with urgency because I know what it’s like to be told to wait,” Islam said in her debut video. “To wait for healthcare because we can’t afford it. To wait to run for office because that’s not something that young people in office are supposed to do.”

Islam, 32, embraced the label as “Georgia’s AOC” after she earned U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement during her unsuccessful 2020 run for U.S. House. The Lawrenceville native campaigned for “Medicare for all” and a $15-an-hour minimum wage in that campaign.

She finished in third-place in the Democratic primary and floated the possibility of a fresh challenge against Bourdeaux, whose centrist policies have infuriated some on the party’s left flank.

Instead, Islam’s Georgia Senate run will set up a proxy fight between the two competing U.S. House members. Moore was endorsed by Bourdeaux shortly after she launched her campaign, while McBath on Tuesday announced her support for Islam.

“Right now it is more important than ever to have a strong fighter like Nabilah in the state Legislature,” said McBath. “Nabilah will never back down from doing what is right for Gwinnett.”

State Rep. Donna McLeod is also running for the U.S. House seat.

Islam and Moore are competing for a newly drawn state Senate district that heavily favors Democrats. The territory carves a path through Gwinnett, covering parts of Duluth, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree Corners and Suwanee.

The fast-growing area is among the most diverse in Georgia, with growing numbers of Hispanic and Asian-American residents. Islam, the child of Bangladeshi immigrants, emphasized her background as she opened her campaign.

“I have lived the struggles that so many Georgians face every day. But often, when people my age, especially women and people of color, try to stand up to hold our politicians accountable, we are told to sit down and wait,” she said.

“I’m done waiting.”