Stacey Abrams, Padma Lakshmi Discuss What's at Stake in Georgia Runoff

As part of Rolling Stone‘s new series Georgia Talks — in which notable political figures and entertainers discuss the upcoming Senate runoff election in Georgia on January 5th — author Padma Lakshmi interviewed Georgia voting rights activist Stacey Abrams on why this particular election is so important.

“Let’s be clear: This is about whether or not there is actual Covid relief,” Abrams said. “Right now, Americans are expected to live on $600 for the rest of the winter as the only form of relief being offered. This is about whether we have a recovery package that actually includes local governments, where we finance teachers and law enforcement. It’s about whether we have jobs that get created in this new economy, to help us recover but also to help think about what’s next.”

Finally, Abrams concluded: “It’s about justice. There are so many conversations about justice that are continuing to rage through this nation, but unless we have a partnership with our incoming president, where the Senate and the House can work together with the president to get this work done, we’re gonna continue to have this reckoning with no result.”

The pair also discussed the issue of voter suppression and the proposed policies of the two Democratic candidates for Senate, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, especially Ossoff’s plans surrounding healthcare and his promise to expand Medicaid. Lakshmi also criticized seated Georgia Republican Senator Kelly Lafleur, who wrote an open letter that disparaged athletes for wearing “Black Lives Matter” and “Breonna Taylor” on their sports jerseys.

“She makes her money off of the backs of black women in the WNBA,” Lakshmi pointed out. “So I just don’t understand how you can square that, and how you would even have the gall, frankly. It’s one thing to feel that way, it’s another thing to feel so brazen enough to say, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna say it publicly.’”

Lakshmi made her last point by urging her fellow Asian-Americans to participate in the polls during this election, even if they think their vote won’t directly affect their lives. “As we have seen so explicitly with Covid, it doesn’t matter if one of us is healthy or not hungry,” she said. “All of us need to be healthy and not hungry. And if that isn’t a reason to vote blue, and to make sure you get to the polls between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 5th, I don’t know what is.”

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