Democrat Shannon joins race for Georgia lieutenant governor

© Provided by Associated Press U.S. Rep. Renitta Shannon, D-Decatur, center, speaks as Bee Ngyuyen (D-Atlanta), left, and David Dreyer (D-Atlanta) listen during a news conference at the Richard B. Russell Federal Building in Atlanta, Sept. 23, 2019. Shannon, a three-term House member, and announced her candidacy for lieutenant governor Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. Shannon won national notice in 2019 when she gave an impassioned speech against a six-week abortion ban Republicans pushed through the General Assembly. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, file)

ATLANTA (AP) — A Democratic Georgia state House member who has been among the most outspoken opponents of some Republican policies has joined the race for lieutenant governor.

Renitta Shannon, a three-term House member from Decatur announced her candidacy Monday.

Shannon won national notice in 2019 when she gave an impassioned speech against a six-week abortion ban that Republicans pushed through the General Assembly. Shannon, speaking against the bill and about her own past abortion, went past her allotted time but refused to yield the floor. Colleagues eventually persuaded her to walk away.

In an announcement video, Shannon touted her activism, including boycotting one of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s speeches.

“We need leaders who will advance progressive policies that work for all of us,” Shannon said.

She said she will support a higher minimum wage, expansion of the state-federal Medicaid program to cover more poor adults, abortion rights, fewer people under the supervision of the criminal justice system, accountability for abusive police officers, higher funding for schools and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Shannon is the first openly bisexual member of the Georgia General Assembly. No Black woman or openly LGBTQ person has ever been elected statewide.

Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan has said he won’t seek another term, and the Democratic primary to replace the Senate’s presiding officer is growing crowded, including state Rep. Erick Allen of Smyrna; Kolbey Gardner, state Rep. Derrick Jackson of Tyrone, and Bryan Miller, grandson of former Gov. Zell Miller.

Republicans seeking the office include Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller of Gainesville, Sen. Burt Jones of Jackson and Jeanne Seaver.

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