Handel: Appoint SOS [UPDATED]

I actually like this idea, though Bill Stephens apparently does not. Karen Handel suggests appointing the Secretary of State. I’m a big believer in running the state executive branch like the federal branch and appointing the various secretaries and commissioners. It seems absurd to me that there are whole divisions of the executive branch in Georgia that the Governor should be able to call on to accomplish his goals and those divisions may be headed by an elected person of the same or a different party but, regardless of that, with competing interesting.

As a result, the state has a multitude of other commissioners that the Governor appoints to accomplish his goals. From SOS to State School Superintendent, I think they should all be appointed by the Governor, who should then be held accountable based on those appointments.

[UPDATE] According to the Handel campaign (thanks Beth), the Stephens campaign mischaracterized her statement. Handel was apparently just saying that some states do appoint the SOS, but that she does not personally favor that. Damn. Oh well.


  1. Bill Simon says:

    Right off hand, I’m not in favor of that. Too many times, the Governor’s office becomes a “kingdom” whereby the Governor (I’m not talking about Perdue specifically here, just the generic “Governor”) doles-out political favors in the form of appointments to various offices.

    While some folks may think the Republicans are on a roll here and we will dominate this state for decades to come, I have seen just about as much arrogance rolling out of Republican-elected office-holders as I’ve seen out of Democrat-elected office-holders.

    In short, I like the system just fine the way it is. Independently qualified people run for their respective offices and have to convince a majority of voters of their qualifications for office, rather than one person and his group of henchmen/advisors who can so easliy be swayed by money.

  2. RonaldJFehr says:

    I am in agreement with Mr. Simon above. However I will go out on a limb and interpret what Karen Handel said.

    In the context of the duties of the Secretary of State, it would have been much more effective for Georgians to have had an appointed Secretary of State these past few years. Cathy Cox is more politician than public servant, and had the opportunity to really streamline a lot of processes for the state that she in turn fumbled dismally.

    I think there needs to be some way to bring the administrations of the higher constitutional offices in Georgia in better alignment with the Secretary of State than we currently see. As for the notion that 9.2 million voters decide this, and that Karen has deeply offended their most sacred, virtuous rights, I am less than convinced.

    After Bill Stephens tried to smear Karen Handel personally, I think it is only natural that he go to great lengths to make a political mountain out of a molehill. He is wrong, it was a suggestion, and she is still more qualified to run this office than he is.

    What Georgians need even less than an appointed Secretary of State is the most ethically challenged public official to the right of Cynthia McKinney lording over the elections and small business processes of the whole state.

  3. Beth says:

    If I read Erick’s post correctly, Handel was just talking about SoS. Erick added the part about other offices and commissions.

    I believe that Florida went to an appointed SoS after the 2002 election.

  4. Bill Simon says:

    Mr. Fehr,

    May I inquire as to what you are talking about with regards to Cathy Cox “fumbling” the streamlining of certain processes inside the SoS’s office?

    I’m pretty sure she, in fact, won an award from a national organization of government efficiency experts for putting so many things online that, before, you had to go through hours of frustration with the SoS’s office.

  5. Kate says:

    Last week when Karen spoke, she talked about the need for improved customer service in the SoS office. She gave an example of a person calling into the office and being told to go to the website.

    I know it’s hard to believe, but there are still people without web access, and sometimes people have questions that can’t be answered on the web. They need to talk to a live person, who can answer questions.

  6. Demonbeck says:

    I agree to an extent. Ag Commissioner and the DOE Superintendent and a few others should be equal to the Commissioner of GDEcD among others. I am not so sure about the Atty Gen. position though. I kind of like the idea of them being separate. Just in case some Governor down the line gets too big for his/her britches/skirt.

  7. Mike Hassinger says:

    Bill Simon used the phrase: “a national organization of government efficiency experts….” like he actually meant it.

    Government efficiency experts are like unicorn hunters. They might know what they’re after, but they’ve never seen one.

    Bill, Bill, Bill! Has hell frozen over?

  8. RonaldJFehr says:

    Mr. Simon,

    Not sure if I meant to offend you by implying that Cox has been less than “The Best” administrator. Regarding the Voter I.D. debacle, Cox decided to grandstand instead of serve. Also, when my son finally became a licensed architect it was after months of frustration dealing with disrespectful, unhelpful and often inept staff at an office over 2 hours away in Macon.

    National award or not, Cathy Cox has not won my vote for anything.

  9. Demonbeck says:


    I don’t disagree with what you are saying, but what’s wrong with having an office “over two hours away in Macon?” I would love to see more state government offices housed outside of ‘Capitol City.’ You know, it’s our state too.

  10. Beth says:

    RJF & Demon,
    I guess you two haven’t heard Handel speak. I’ve heard her address the following: 1) Testing only takes place in two places in the state, 2) There is a need to improve customer service in the SoS office.

    I would bet it’s like all of his of his other “Voter Outrage’s of the Week”. Which are at best, stretching the truth. Quite frankly I’m surprised the Handel campaign hasn’t come out and pointed out all the errors.

  11. Beth says:

    Since Erick brought up conspiracy and bias, it’s interesting that this was posted on the front page – about the same time this weeks addition of “Voter outrage…” hit my email box.

    Erick just to be clear I am not accusing you of conspiracy.

  12. GAWire says:

    So, what are you saying about me, Beth? I was just forwarding on a message that a friend forwarded me. Remember, I haven’t gotten behind anyone in this race yet.

    And, I think Erick is trying to be conspiratorial. It’s him and that 7 month old daughter of his that are trying to takeover GA politics! 🙂

  13. Erick says:

    oh, no worries Beth. The tip line, sometimes, is used as a way to hurl personal accusations and invective without getting traced. And no, the 7 month old does not have a personal ID yet. She won’t be driving or dating until I’m dead, so she’s got a few decades to worry about that.

  14. Bill Simon says:

    Beth’s comment brings-up an issue in my mind, unrelated to this thread: If illegal immigrants were filing federal taxes, don’t you think they’d be claiming umpteenth zillion kids as their dependents???

  15. Erick says:

    Beth, one more thing, I actually was inspired to write this based on the Stephens’ email. I actually just skimmed it really fast and did not realize it was his “voter outrage” email.

  16. Beth says:

    I was hoping she did have a voter id — then she could be the next “Voter Outrage of the Week” 🙂

    BTW – I have seen some of the pictures you posted of her on one of your other sites. She is cute.

    Just so no one goes nuts — the voter id comments are a joke.

  17. Beth says:

    I forgot to answer your question. I’ve have stated before that I feel that most of the front pagers on this site are biased toward Stephens. Just a feeling, but if you looked at what get’s posted and how it’s framed….

    I’m not saying that you (the front pagers) all have made up your mind about what your going to do on 7/18, just that your not leaning Handel at this point.

  18. Beth says:

    Not really sure if I can post this. This comes directly from Inside Advantage Georgia.

    It’s in response to Stephens Voter Outrage of the Week.

    “Marty Ryall, the Handel campaign manager, said that’s not what Handel said. “In answering a broad question in the forum about how to streamline government and take politics out of the office, Karen Handel simply pointed out that in a number of states the office is appointed in an effort to do that. In fact, after Bill Stephens misrepresented her comment in the forum, she clearly stated that she does not advocate changing the Constitution of the state of Georgia.

  19. Bull Moose says:

    I think that we should vote for State School Board and allow them to nominate and select the Superintendent of State Education and that the Governor shouldn’t really be involved with that facet of elected office.

    As for the Ag Commissioner and Insurance Commissioner — I agree they should be appointed positions, ratified by the Senate. I think the Attorney General position should continue to be independent of the Governor’s office.

    As for Secretary of State, I’m torn on that one… I don’t know if it should be appointed or elected…

  20. bowersville says:

    I’m tired of all the negitives. i don’t care what SoS candidates think. This is a constitional question for all of Georgians to decide, not them. I’m tired of hearing about handel and her liberal views. please explain that to me. Handel has been here in rural georgia, none of you know where bowersville is. karen has been here, bill stephens where are you. I’ve heard all this rhetoric on handel about being moderate to liberal, give me the facts. i am a born and bred rural georgian, ignorant, but not stupid, i’m tired of your negative slick willy attacks, i ain’t that stupid, give me the facts. Or are you just interested in doing political correc as usual, “we georgians are so ignorant all you have to do is be anti-gay issues, anti- race, 65 voters right act, or slam karen handel. I’m tired of it. Either get with the issues or get out.

  21. Kate says:

    One other point on Handel & Stephens. I looked at both websites. Handel has much more detail on hers. Stephens has very little if any detail.

  22. bowersville says:

    You know, none of you know where bowersville is located, you’ll have to go to your GPS if you’re Stephens or to a map if you are Handel. I’m tired of the slamming on Handel. I’m tired of the attack that she is not in touch with rural georgian’s, I’m tired of hearing she is pro- gay, I certainly don’t want to hear the “L” word again, her husband is more of a gentleman than me. I’m tired of people believing I am so ignorant as a born and bred rural georgian that I will vote based on labels. I’m tired of you believing I will vote based on you believing I’m biased. Bill, she has been here, where are you, and if you come be prepared to defend your labels, I’m up to it are you

  23. Bill Simon says:

    A bigger question would be, why would Bill Stephens jump all over this anyway? As a supposed “state senator”, he would know the SofS would not be in any position to change the laws to make the position an appointed position.

    But (and, I know I repeat myself on this a lot), Bill Stephens is, after all, a moron.

  24. Beth says:

    You hit the nail on the head. Handel has an agenda and a plan. You can visit her website to get all the details. She is running an issues based campaign, but continues to get attacked.

  25. DoubleDawg3 says:

    Sorry to post this so late — I am just now reading on the previous entries … BETH – YOU ARE DEAD WRONG ON THIS ONE!!! Erick should not have “updated” this post based upon your clearly faulty information.

    At a UGA College Republican Forum (which I attended en persona along with about 50 other folks) Karen Handel directly responded to the question that the office of Secretary of State in Georgia SHOULD BE APPOINTED, not elected (technically, she said it would be a “good idea” –then went into a point that if the office were appointed Sonny could have replaced Cathy Cox with a more “competent” SOS – that’s what she said) . Now, maybe she didn’t “mean” to say this – but that’s exactly what she DID say that night – April 12th!

    Bill Stephens responded that the office should remain elected, accountable to 9.2 million voters, and made the point that in the future we don’t know who the Governor will be – so we don’t want a Governor (who’s dishonest) placing friends in charge of the SOS.

    That’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth — Call up the UGA College Republican Chairwoman or Public Relations Director and ask them yourself!

    So – In other words – Don’t trust the “updated” information on this one – Erick had it right the first time

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