For the first time in eight years, Georgians will elect a new governor in 2018.

Seven Republicans and two Democrats are seeking to replace Gov. Nathan Deal, who cannot run for a third term. Between now and primary day May 22, 11Alive.com will be bringing you a series of Q&A’s with each candidate who answers our questionnaire.

Today's interview is with former rep. Stacey Abrams, whom you can learn more about at her campaign website.

Also, look for more extensive coverage of this race and others until Election Day, Nov. 6, as Georgia Votes 2018.

1. What is the No. 1 challenge facing the state?

Every Georgian deserves the freedom and opportunity to thrive, but today too many are struggling to survive. We must imagine more for our state. I have a vision for Georgia where we educate bold and ambitious children from cradle to career, build a thriving economy in all 159 counties, and ensure our leadership is effective and engaged. As Georgia's next governor, I will expand Medicaid, support excellence in our public schools, make higher education and options after high school affordable, and create long-term, high-wage jobs in every county.

2. If elected, how would you prioritize Atlanta’s needs compared to other cities and counties in Georgia?

I kicked off my campaign in Albany because I want Georgians to know I will be a governor committed to serving the needs of the entire state. As House Democratic Leader, my responsibility was to serve families from Rabun County to Camden county, and everywhere in between. I understand that transportation and transit investments do not just benefit Atlanta, Medicaid expansion impacts Grady Hospital as much as it does the hospitals that are the backbone of our rural communities, and that we must invest equally in regional employers and small businesses in all 159 counties. Georgia's next governor must have the experience and vision to knit together solutions for the entire state so that all our families can thrive together.

3. If you prevail in the May 22 primary, you have a chance to make history this fall. But Republicans in Georgia hold every elected state office, as well as majorities in the General Assembly and its congressional delegation. Realistically, what are your chances of being elected governor?

I understand first-hand the struggles that everyday Georgians are facing, and I am ready to be a governor who helps families boldly seek opportunity so that they can succeed -- not just survive. As the former House Democratic Leader, a nonprofit leader that led the way on transformative voter registration drives, and an entrepreneur who has helped create and save thousands of jobs, I am the most qualified candidate to lead a state that is growing and becoming more diverse every day. I have been to nearly every county in Georgia, and have had the opportunity listen to people from all walks of life who don't feel seen or heard by their leadership. Our families are ready for a leader who understands the Georgia of the past, the Georgia of today, and the bold new Georgia we can build for tomorrow if we work together.

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