Stacey Abrams Says Debt 'Should Not Be A Disqualifier For Ambition'

“I fundamentally believe that debt is not a shame," the Democrat from Georgia said.

NEW YORK ― Even political powerhouses like Stacey Abrams have debt.

Abrams, a former Georgia state lawmaker who narrowly lost her bid for governor in November, openly discussed her own debt during Tina Brown’s 10th Annual Women in the World Summit in Manhattan on Thursday morning. The Democrat has been open about her debt in the past and she reminded the audience at Lincoln Center that most Americans do have debt ― it’s not something to be ashamed of.

“It should not be a disqualifier for ambition,” Abrams said. “Being poor, being in debt, having fewer resources than others does not make you less.”

When Abrams won the Democratic primary for the Georgia governor’s race, she had more than $200,000 in debt from student and credit card loans, including $50,000 in back taxes owed to the IRS.

“I fundamentally believe that debt is not a shame. It’s not a stigma,” Abrams continued. “It’s a reality for more than three-quarters of America. Because we have a system that says that you still have to do stuff even if you can’t afford it. They don’t ask you if you’re poor before you get cancer. You can defer tax payments, but you cannot defer cancer treatments.”

She added that the amount of Americans in debt is evidence of a larger structural issue of how we deal with money in the U.S.

“The part that we need to recognize is that being in debt is not a shame,” Abrams reiterated. “What we should be worried about is whether we are going to take the steps necessary to help ourselves and to improve how we deal with money.”

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