House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams Honored by Caroline Kennedy as a 2012 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award Winner
Caroline Kennedy presented the ninth annual John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards to Stacey Abrams, Georgia House Minority Leader and the first woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly. The award was presented Monday, Nov. 19, 2012 at 5:30 p.m. during a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum.
“Stacey Abrams reminds us that good relationships make for good politics, and that compromise is often the most direct path to progress,” said Kennedy, President of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and Chair of the Senior Advisory Committee for Harvard’s Institute of Politics.
The John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards were created by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and Harvard’s Institute of Politics to honor Americans under the age of 40 who are changing their communities and the country with their commitment to public service. The awards are presented annually to two exceptional individuals whose contributions in elective office, community service, or advocacy demonstrate the impact and the value of public service in the spirit of John F. Kennedy.
One of the New Frontier Awards honors an elected official whose work demonstrates the importance of elective service as a way to address a public challenge or challenges. This award, called the Fenn Award, is presented to a young elected official in honor of Dan Fenn, the Kennedy Library’s first director and a former member of President Kennedy’s staff.
Abrams is the first Georgian to receive the award.
“I am deeply humbled by this honor. President Kennedy's legacy of principled service, particularly in the difficult days of school desegregation, required a true spirit of bipartisanship. He was not required to relinquish his beliefs, but instead to expand his leadership to include even those whose goals opposed his own. In a smaller measure, that is my obligation as Minority Leader - to work with others to find common ground without ceding what is right.”
Veronika Scott, founder of The Empowerment Plan, an innovative humanitarian project that is creating a new garment industry in Detroit by hiring the city’s homeless women is the other 2012 recipient.
For more information visit the Kennedy Presidential Library’s website at www.jfklibrary.org or the Institute of Politics’ website at www.iop.harvard.edu. For a webcast go to www.jfklibrary.org/webcast.
Stacey Abrams - House Minority Leader, Georgia General Assembly, Fenn Award Recipient
Stacey Abrams, 38, is the first woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly, and the first African-American to lead in the Georgia House of Representatives. First elected in 2006, Abrams has made a mark as a thoughtful, open-minded legislator and a master of detail in the formulation of public policy.
In 2010, Georgia House Democrats elected Abrams to lead their caucus. Abrams quickly earned a reputation - and respect - on both sides of the aisle for working across party lines on important legislation. She faced some resistance among Democratic caucus members for her policy of engagement with the Republican majority. However, her approach allowed her to “put her stamp on proposals that could easily have become law without any input from the minority party,” as longtime Atlanta Journal-Constitution political columnist Jim Galloway wrote. In one instance, amid debate over funding reductions for a landmark statewide scholarship program, Abrams negotiated the restoration of a full-day pre-kindergarten program that had been a target for cuts.
In January 2012, Governing magazine named Abrams one of twelve state legislators to watch. Prior to her election to the Georgia House, Abrams was Deputy City Attorney for the city of Atlanta. Before that, she was a tax attorney at an Atlanta law firm, where she focused on tax-exempt organizations, health care and public finance.
Stacey Abrams is a magna cum laude graduate of Spelman College. She earned a master’s degree in public policy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
In 1966, the Kennedy Library Corporation presented Harvard University with an endowment for the creation of the Institute of Politics (IOP). Established as a memorial to President Kennedy, the IOP’s mission is to unite and engage students, particularly undergraduates, with academics, politicians, activists, and policymakers on a non-partisan basis to inspire them to consider careers in politics and public service. Located at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Institute strives to promote greater understanding and cooperation between the academic world and the world of politics and public affairs.
The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation provides financial support, staffing, and creative resources for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and the Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history, and culture, the process of governing and the importance of public service.