Seventeen Democratic “rising stars” – including 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams – will give a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday.
Tuesday’s theme at the DNC, which is being conducted virtually this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, is “Leadership Matters” and will “weave together powerful and diverse voices from the next generation of party leaders in a unified pledge to step up and lead in this critical moment for the nation,” according to a DNC statement.
Instead of the usual one keynote speaker, this year’s address will feature 17 of the Democratic Party’s “rising stars,” who will “offer a diversity of different ideas and perspectives on how to move America forward,” the DNC said.
Among the “rising stars” is Abrams, the first African American woman to be a major party’s gubernatorial nominee.
Reps. Conor Lamb and Brendan Boyle of Pennsylvania and Colin Allred of Texas are also slated to speak on Tuesday. Lamb, a Democrat in a district President Donald Trump won in 2016, endorsed Biden in January this year.
Allred, another congressman to flip a Republican district in the 2018 midterm and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, also endorsed Biden last January, and was the 10th caucus member to do so.
Several early supporters of Biden are also a part of the 17 keynote speakers, including state Sens. Raumesh Akbari of Tennessee, Yvanna Cancela of Nevada, Marlon Kimpsonof South Carolina and Pennsylvania state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta.
“The convention keynote has always been the bellwether for the future of our party and our nation,” Joe Solmones, the CEO of the 2020 DNC convention, said, “And when Americans tune in next week they’ll find the smart, steady leadership we need to meet this critical moment.”
Other keynote speakers include state Reps. Mari Manoogian of Michigan, Victoria Neave of Texas, Sam Park of Georgia and Denny Ruprecht of New Hampshire. Mayors Randall Woodfin of Birmingham, Alabama, and Robert Garcia of Long Beach, California, will also get a turn along with former Ohio state Rep. Kathleen Clyde, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried and Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.
Current well-known members of Democratic party were the keynote speaker in previous Democratic presidential conventions before rising to prominence, including former President Barack Obama and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.
Prior to running for president in the 2008 election, Obama gave the keynote address during the 2004 Democratic National Convention when he was an Illinois state senator.
Castro was the San Antonio Mayor when he was the keynote speaker during the 2012 convention. He was later named the HUD secretary by Obama and held that position until the end of Obama’s term. Castro was a Democratic presidential candidate for the 2020 election before ending his campaign in January.
The convention will feature several speakers spread throughout the four days, including Obama, former Ohio governor and 2016 Republican presidential candidate John Kasich and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. Speakers will also include non-elected public officials like a Florida paramedic and Milwaukee teachers.
Contributing: Associated Press