Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that he asked Abrams three weeks ago to give the televised response. “I was very delighted when she agreed,” he said. Adding that she is “a great spokesperson” and “an incredible leader.”
“She has led the charge for voting rights, which is at the root of just about everything else. And she really has—if you look at her background, she knows what working people, middle-class people go through,” Schumer said.
Abrams gained national attention last year when entered Georgia's gubernatorial race. Had she won, she would have been the first Black woman governor in the history of the country. She lost her highly publicized race to Republican Brian Kemp during November's midterm elections.
“At a moment when our nation needs to hear from leaders who can unite for a common purpose, I am honored to be delivering the Democratic State of the Union response,” she tweeted on Tuesday.
In a statement to NBC News, Abrams said, "I plan to deliver a vision for prosperity and equality, where everyone in our nation has a voice and where each of those voices is heard.”
The State of the Union will be delivered on Feb. 5, after being postponed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi because of the government shutdown.