For Immediate Release
April 19, 2021

EMILY’s List Announces Debra Lekanoff as a Nominee for 2021 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, announced its nominees for the 2021 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award. They include: Georgia State Representative Park Cannon, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Massachusetts State Representative Tram Nguyen, New York State Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, Pennsylvania State Representative Jennifer O’Mara, and Washington State Representative Debra Lekanoff. 

“This year’s nominees are a group of fierce advocates who represent their communities with strength, dignity, and compassion,” said Emily Cain, executive director of EMILY’s List. “Every woman on this list has worked tirelessly to support her community in rebuilding from the COVID-19 pandemic. And individually and collectively they have pushed to increase access to health care and reproductive freedom, and fought to ensure that the votes, voices, and needs of their constituents were heard by their state leaders. This year’s nominees are groundbreakers who have overcome many barriers to success and paved a path forward for others to follow in their footsteps. We are proud to recognize these rising stars as exceptional leaders at EMILY’s List and know that their communities are safer, healthier, and stronger because of their leadership.” 

Named in honor of the dedicated and courageous Gabrielle Giffords, the Rising Star Award celebrates an extraordinary woman serving in state or local office. The award honors a woman who demonstrates the sort of commitment to community, dedication to women and families, and determination and civility that have been the highlights of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ career, in and out of office. Previous Rising Star Award recipients include former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams in 2014, former Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley in 2015, former Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran in 2016, Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym in 2017, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in 2018, California Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo in 2019, and Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes in 2020. 

The Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award winner will be chosen with community input. Online voting can be found here

EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has raised over $700 million to elect Democratic pro-choice women candidates. With a grassroots community of over five million members, EMILY’s List helps Democratic women win competitive campaigns – across the country and up and down the ballot – by recruiting and training candidates, supporting and helping build strong campaigns, researching the issues that impact women and families, running nearly $50 million in independent expenditures in the last cycle alone, and turning out women voters and voters of color to the polls. Since our founding in 1985, we have helped elect the country’s first woman as vice president, 157 women to the House, 26 to the Senate, 16 governors, and more than 1,300 women to state and local office. More than 40 percent of the candidates EMILY’s List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color. After the 2016 election, more than 60,000 women reached out to EMILY’s List about running for office laying the groundwork for the next decade of candidates for local, state, and national offices. In our effort to elect more women in offices across the country, we have created our Run to Win program, expanded our training program, including a Training Center online, and trained thousands of women.

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