ATLANTA - A veteran of two statewide political campaigns in Georgia has launched a political action committee to raise money for Democratic women seeking elective office.

Sarah Riggs Amico lost the 2018 race for lieutenant governor to Republican Geoff Duncan and unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination this year to challenge U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga.

Now, she’s putting her experience on the campaign trail into the Our American Dreams PAC, which hopes to raise $50,000 to $100,000 this year on behalf of 21 candidates for state and local offices.

“Over the last three years, I’ve been through a little over 150 Georgia counties,” Amico said Tuesday, Sept. 1. “One of the things you hear is how many communities feel the idea of the American Dream is slipping away.”

Amico said the burden of economic insecurity and lack of opportunity has fallen disproportionately on women and minorities, particularly during the current pandemic.

For example, more than 90% of women- and minority-owned businesses were shut out of the first round of federal loans distributed through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Amico, a businesswoman from Marietta, has an affinity for women who owns businesses. More than half of the 21 candidates her PAC is endorsing are women business owners.

Seven of the group are first-generation Americans, and three of them are naturalized citizens. Amico is married to an immigrant.

“These are voices that for too long have been left out,” she said. “One thing I’ve found is that to change the output of a system, you have to change the input.”

Of the 21 candidates the PAC has endorsed, 13 are running for seats in the Georgia House of Representatives and five are seeking election to the state Senate. The other three are running for the school board, district attorney and a county commission chairmanship.

Of the 18 running for the General Assembly, five are incumbents. A dozen are either challenging incumbent Republicans or looking to fill a vacant seat, while one of the candidates defeated a fellow Democrat in a House primary.

The list includes the following:

  • Regina Lewis-Ward, House District 109
  • Mokah Jasmine Johnson, House District 117
  • State Rep. Donna McLeod, D-Lawrenceville, House District 105
  • Sarah Beeson, Senate District 56
  • State Rep. CaMia Hopson, D-Albany, House District 153
  • Nikki Merritt, Senate District 9
  • Geretta Smith, Senate District 23
  • Dr. Michelle Au, Senate District 48
  • State Sen. Valencia Seay, D-Riverdale, Senate District 34
  • State Rep. Angelika Kausche, D-Johns Creek, House District 50
  • Dr. Rebecca Mitchell, House District 106
  • Sara Ghazal, House District 45
  • Former state Rep. Stacey Evans, House District 57
  • Zulma Lopez, House District 86
  • Nakita Hemingway, House District 104
  • Ebony Carter, House District 110
  • State Rep. Bee Nguyen, D-Atlanta, House District 89
  • State Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick, D-Lithonia, House District 93
  • Nicole Hendrickson, Gwinnett County Commission Chair
  • Audrey Gibbons, Glynn County School Board
  • Former state Rep. Deborah Gonzalez, district attorney, Western Judicial Circuit

Amico said she would like to expand her PAC out of state eventually but, for now, has plenty of work to do building a pipeline of women candidates in Georgia.

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