Stacey Abrams, Sam Park added to DNC lineup

Former Georgia gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams and state Rep. Sam Park are among 17 rising Democratic stars who will deliver a joint keynote Democratic National Convention address on Tuesday in a coveted spot long reserved for emerging party leaders.

The DNC said Sunday that Abrams, Park and the others will deliver the speech themed “Leadership Matters” in the Tuesday lineup, as party officials showcase a group that also includes young U.S. House members in tight races and state legislators from around the nation likely to run for higher office.

The slot has long featured up-and-coming Democratic figures – including Barack Obama, whose 2004 speech when he was a U.S. Senate candidate from Illinois helped catapult him to national prominence. With convention proceedings held virtually, party organizers this year decided to make it an ensemble affair.

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Other Georgians have prominent roles in the four-day convention, which kicks off Monday.

Former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates, an Atlanta attorney, will also speak on Tuesday. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms will get a primetime slot on Thursday just before Joe Biden delivers his keynote. And MARTA bus driver Natasha Taylor will be featured as a part of non-politicians who will address the convention.

Also, Democrats plan a meaningful tribute to the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis during the convention. And Abrams will headline an online rally earlier Thursday to press Congress to adopt a new Voting Rights Act in Lewis’ honor.

While Abrams has fast become a household name in political circles, Park is also emerging as a top Democratic figure. He won an upset victory in 2016 over a three-term Republican in the heart of suburban Gwinnett County, making him the first openly gay man elected to serve in the state Capitol.

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Since his victory, he’s been a vocal advocate for the expansion of Medicaid – his mother’s battle with cancer inspired him to run – and the passage of hate-crimes laws and other anti-discriminatory measures. He’s also headlined a Georgia LGBTQ listening session for Biden’s campaign in June.

“I’m really honored and humbled,” said Park. “And I’m looking forward to doing everything I can to elect Democrats in November and help Joe Biden win.”

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