Nikema Williams, state senator of Georgia’s 39th district, has defeated Republican Angela Stanton-King to fill the congressional seat of Rep. John Lewis, who passed away from pancreatic cancer in July.
Williams, who won a resounding victory—83.9% of votes to King’s 16.1%—will represent Georgia’s 5th congressional district.
Williams, 42, who also serves as the chair of the Georgia Democratic Party, said in an interview with InStyle.com that she is prepared to carry on the civil rights icon’s legacy.
“Nobody could replace John Lewis,” Williams said. “He paved the way and showed me the way.”
Rep. Lewis served Georgia’s 5th congressional district from from January 1987 to his death on July 17, 2020.
Williams, former vice president of public policy at Planned Parenthood Southeast, began her career with Young Democrats of Georgia, where she met Rep. Lewis. She served as legislative coordinator and regional public policy manager for Planned Parenthood of Georgia.
“That [experience] ingrained in me how every issue is interconnected,” she told InStyle. “I can’t separate my uterus from Blackness, from my Southernness, from all the other things that make me Nikema.”
Williams was endorsed by former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Cory Booker, and others.
She is the first Black woman, the second Black person, and the third woman to chair Georgia’s Democratic Party. And if this latest win is any indication, she has no plans to stop making history and creating new futures.
“I must continue to fight because I know that I am up against a system that was not created for me or by people that look like me, and I am operating within a system that wasn’t designed for me,” Williams told ESSENCE in 2018. “I’m going to continue to speak up for those that for far too long have been overlooked and unheard in our political process.”