By Samantha Nuechterlein
The Women in Politics Making a Difference Awards will recognize 16 outstanding women over the course of a year. Each season—spring, summer, fall and winter—the Women's Legislative Network will profile four women who are making their marks in their legislatures and communities. This is the second of four profiles of the honorees for spring.
Representative Valencia Stovall, Georgia, Democrat
Speaking with Representative Valencia Stovall it is easy to see she is passionate about her community and a few targeted passions boil to the surface with vigor.
Her commitment to improving education for all students in Georgia, increasing job opportunities for local constituents and overall economic development in her community are all unwavering goals. She has a notable presence in the community, constantly engaging her constituents to keep them at the forefront of her work.
Who was your political hero growing up?
My dad, Lovett Stovall. Ever since I was a young girl he has been involved in policy in the city of Atlanta. He was a special adviser to Mayor Maynard Jackson, who was the first African-American mayor of any major Southern city. My father has been involved with politics from the city level down to the school board, countywide and even local and national elections. Initially, I wasn’t looking to run to be an elected official but the opportunity became available and the seat came open and so I ran.
If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, alive or deceased, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I would say the late mayor of Atlanta, Maynard Jackson. I would ask him what kept him motivated to always keep the community at the forefront of whatever decisions he was making for the city of Atlanta.
What are your favorite things to do when you aren’t in session?
I like going to the movies, I like all genres of movies. I love history and traveling to historical places.
What are you most proud of in your time as a legislator?
Passing my first general piece of legislation in the House and the Senate and having the governor sign it on May 3. HB-1614 the Landon Johnson Act, allows video cameras to be placed in self-contained special needs classrooms. I also host a community event every year that I think is extremely important called Dance on the Bridge. We shut down the 1-75 Bridge in Morrow, Georgia on a Saturday in April as a community event where we take time to recognize parents and community leaders who volunteered at our local schools. We present them with certificates of recognition to them for sacrificing their time to be involved and highlight the importance of their time.
Samantha Nuechterlein is staff coordinator for the NCSL Foundation and Member Outreach.