Stacey Abrams, 16 Rising Stars to Keynote Democratic Meeting

Seventeen rising Democratic stars will together give the keynote address at the party’s convention on Tuesday, the Democratic National Convention Committee said Sunday.

The keynote spot is generally given to one emerging leader in the party -- Barack Obama famously had the slot in 2004, when he was a U.S. Senate candidate from Illinois -- but with the virtual convention proceedings limited to two hours each day, officials decided to showcase more people.

The 17 Democrats will jointly give a single speech on Tuesday night’s theme, “Leadership Matters.”

Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia House of Representatives minority leader and gubernatorial candidate, is perhaps the best known politician in the group. At 46, she’s also the oldest.

There are also three Democrats from tightly contested House districts: Colin Allred of Texas, and two Pennsylvania representatives, Brendan Boyle and Conor Lamb.

“The convention keynote has always been the bellwether for the future of our party and our nation, and when Americans tune in next week they’ll find the smart, steady leadership we need to meet this critical moment,” convention chief executive officer Joe Solmonese said in a statement.

Many of the speakers endorsed Joe Biden when the Democratic presidential primary was highly competitive, including South Carolina State Senator Marlon Kimpson, Nevada State Senator Yvanna Cancela and Pennsylvania State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta.

Florida Agriculture Secretary Nikki Fried, the only Democrat to win a statewide race in the Sunshine State in 2018, is part of the group, as is Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

The group also includes Mayors Robert Garcia of Long Beach, California, and Randall Woodfin of Birmingham, Alabama. Others speaking include Texas State Representative Victoria Neave, New Hampshire State Representative Denny Ruprecht, Tennessee State Senator Raumesh Akbari, Michigan State Representative Mari Manoogian, and Georgia State Representative Sam Park.

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