• Press Release

EMILYs List Announces Nominees for 2023 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award

March 28, 2023


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, announced its nominees for the 2023 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award. The nominees are Nevada state Rep. Shea Backus, California state Rep. Sabrina Cervantes, Pennsylvania state Rep. and Speaker of the Pennsylvania House Joanna McClinton, Virginia state Del. Danica Roem, Florida state Rep. and House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell, and Georgia state Rep. Michelle Au. Each of these nominees have been groundbreaking legislators, shattering glass ceilings with their elections, and becoming historic “firsts.” EMILYs List President Laphonza Butler released the following statement:

“Since Roe v. Wade was overturned, we have seen an unprecedented and dangerous increase in states banning and restricting abortion, and it has never been more important for pro-choice champions to raise their voices in state legislatures and stand up against violent rhetoric and attacks on our freedom. Each legislator in our inspiring and diverse set of nominees this year has dedicated their careers in office to protecting our rights to reproductive health care and advocating for bills that will increase opportunities for marginalized communities, ensure inclusivity in their states, and make a measurable impact on the local level for women and working families everywhere. We are so proud to honor the work of each of these amazing women by nominating them for the Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award, and we look forward to seeing all that they will continue to accomplish for their communities, their states, and the country.”

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, and California Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo in 2019; former Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes in 2020; Harris County, Texas Judge Lina Hidalgo in 2021; and former Georgia Rep. Bee Nguyen in 2022. 

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

EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, works to elect Democratic pro-choice women up and down the ballot and across the country with a goal of fighting for our rights and our communities. Our work is centered around a fundamental vision: Run. Win. Change the World. EMILYs List has raised $850 million in service to that vision and has helped Democratic women win competitive elections by recruiting and training candidates, supporting and helping build strong campaigns, researching the issues that impact women and families, running one of the largest independent expenditure operations for Democrats, and turning out women voters to the polls. Since our founding in 1985, we have helped elect the country’s first woman as vice president, 175 women to the House, 26 to the Senate, 20 governors, and over 1,500 women to state and local office. More than 40% of the candidates EMILYs List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color. Visit www.emilyslist.org for more information.