As Georgia grapples with the loss of Rep. John Lewis, who passed away last Friday after battling with pancreatic cancer, there was also the question about who would fill the seat left empty as the November elections loom ahead.
That question was answered on Monday when Georgia Democratic Party officials overwhelmingly selected state Sen. Nikema Williams to take Lewis’s place on the ballot, NPR reports.
Williams was one of five finalists who were narrowed down before the final vote. The other finalists were state Rep. Park Cannon, Atlanta City Council member Andre Dickens, former Morehouse College President Robert Franklin and Georgia NAACP President James Woodall.
Widely considered a shoo-in for the seat, Willaims received 37 out of 41 total votes, and this is even with her decision to abstain from casting a ballot herself.
From the very start, Williams had been clear about why she was representing Georgia when she decided to take a leap of faith and run for the state Senate in a 2017 special election.
“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,” 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.”
That will lead to her being arrested and jailed following a protest at the state Capitol where demonstrators were calling for every single vote to be counted following the contentious 2018 elections in Georgia.
And given her words before the vote, it seems as if Williams is looking forward to continuing her legacy.
“Nobody could possibly fill the shoes of Congressman Lewis, but his leadership and fighting spirit is needed now more than ever in this country,” Williams said ahead of Monday’s vote, according to The New York Times. “We need someone who’s not afraid to put themselves on the line for their constituents in the same way Congressman Lewis taught us to. I would be honored if you chose me to be that person.”