• Press Release

GA State Rep. Park Cannon Nominated by EMILYs List for 2021 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award

April 19, 2021

For Immediate Release
April 19, 2021


Georgia State Representative Park Cannon Nominated by EMILYs List for 2021 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, announced that Georgia State Representative Park Cannon is a nominee for the eighth annual Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award.

“Representative Park Cannon is a brave, bold, and inspiring leader who gives her all for the people of Georgia,” said Emily Cain, executive director of EMILYs List. “As the youngest and one of only three LGBTQ+ members in the legislature when she took office, Park was ready to create change in Georgia from day one. 

“Before running for office, Park worked at a women’s health clinic in Atlanta to advocate for equity in health care and to promote Black women’s health. As a member of the state legislature, Park has been a champion for voting rights, affordable housing, environmental awareness, and reproductive freedom. She is also known for using her voice to highlight the human impact of legislation, such as when she fought against a religious freedom bill that would have allowed discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. As a Black queer woman who has been personally impacted by homelessness and domestic violence, Park brings a unique perspective to the state legislature and understands firsthand the impact the decisions made within the Capitol walls have on her constituents. We are honored to nominate Park for the 2021 Gabrielle Giffords Award and watch as she continues to grow in her career and advocate for the communities she represents.” 

Park Cannon proudly serves Georgia’s 58th House District. Park was the youngest and one of only three LGBTQ+ members in the Georgia State House when she took office in 2016 at 24 years old. In the House, Park serves on the executive committee of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, as chair of the Civil and Human Rights Committee, and as co-chair of the Atlanta Affordable Housing Subcommittee. A Georgia native, Park graduated from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill with a bachelor of arts in Hispanic linguistics and a minor in women, gender, and sexuality studies. At the start of her career, she worked at The Feminist Health Center, a women’s health clinic in the center of Atlanta, working on health advocacy and Black women’s health promotion.

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.

Park Cannon is nominated alongside:

  • Catalina Cruz,  New York State Assemblywoman 
  • Debra Lekanoff, Washington State Representative 
  • Lina Hidalgo, Harris County, Texas Judge 
  • Jennifer O’Mara, Pennsylvania State Representative 
  • Tram Nguyen, Massachusetts State Representative  

EMILYs 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 EMILYs 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.