Never once, in the history of the United States of America, has a black woman ever served as governor of any state. Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams hopes to change that. On Saturday, the 43-year-old Democrat launched her campaign and announced her candidacy for governor of the state of Georgia. Widely respected by her colleagues in the state legislature, the Yale Law School alum, is running against current Republican Governor Nathan Deal, who has held the seat since 2011. “I want government to work everyday, for everyone,” Abrams told supporters at her campaign kick-off barbecue at Chehaw Park in Albany, GA. "Pray for me and work with me,” she said.

Despite the state's conservative voting history and a controversial Republican redistricting plan which stands to dilute thousands of minority votes, it has been widely predicted that, given the perceived ineptitude of the current party and the poor optics surrounding the current administration, the Democratic Party could actually make a comeback in the next election. With an increasingly diverse population, state Democrats are shifting focus away from conservative white voters and putting energy into expanding its base to court the large percentages of black, Latino and Asian-American voters.

As founder of an organization that says it has registered 200,000 new voters in Georgia, Abrams has been a champion of this strategy. “Democrats in the South have to reject the notion that our geography requires that politicians soften our commitment to equality and opportunity and that you have to look a certain way,” Abrams told The Washington Post. “We have to be architects of progressive solutions, and that means leadership that believes we can defy the odds. I believe Democrats have the ability to win, because we have the votes.”

As the first woman leader in the Georgia General Assembly and the first black leader in the Georgia House, Abrams is no stranger to breaking down historic barriers.  The daughter of United Methodist ministers, the Gulfport, Miss native earned degrees from Spelman College, the University of Texas and Yale Law School. Abrams said she is running for governor because she thinks “every Georgian deserves the freedom and the opportunity to thrive, and too many of us are being left behind and left out.”