The speculation is over. Karen Handel is now officially a candidate for the U.S. Senate. Her press release:
Karen Handel Announces Campaign For U.S. Senate
–“Georgians want a conservative Senator with the courage to take on the status quo, to fight for them and our constitutional ideals, to be accountable to them — and not Washington” —
ROSWELL, GA – Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel announced today that she is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Saxby Chambliss.
Karen issued the following statement:
I have been incredibly fortunate and blessed in my life. Only in America could I have the life I have. I’m running for U.S. Senate because I want to make sure that the next young person who ends up on his or her own at 17 will have the opportunity to prosper and achieve. But that won’t happen unless we make some big changes in Washington.
States, especially those with Republican governors, are doing a good job — they are balancing budgets with targeted spending cuts, creating jobs, and tackling tax reform. The biggest problems we face today are in Washington, and that’s where we so desperately need fresh thinking, bold solutions, and real leadership.
Out of control spending has left us with a crushing debt. It’s time to deal with it and stop kicking the can down the road — this cannot be the legacy we leave to future generations. So many Georgians are still unemployed or underemployed. To really unleash our economic potential, we need prosperity driven by free market solutions — not prosperity propped up with government spending and bailouts. Businesses, especially our small businesses, need government to get off their backs and out of the way, so that they can do what they do best: innovate and create jobs.
Georgians want a conservative Senator with the courage to take on the status quo, to fight for them and our constitutional ideals, to be accountable to them — and not Washington.
Biography of Karen Handel
Karen is a life-long conservative and Republican who built her career on sound fiscal and organizational management in both the public and private sector. She left an abusive home when she was 17, finishing high school and entering the workforce. With tremendous perseverance and determination, she has had a successful political and business career.
Most recently, Karen wrote the book Planned Bullyhood — the Truth Behind the Planned Parenthood Funding Battle with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, based on her experiences as Komen’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy when Komen decided, and then later reversed, its decision to end grants to Planned Parenthood. Karen, because of her pro-life beliefs, was quickly made the focal point of the left’s anger over Komen’s decision. With her book, Karen took the courageous step to stand up to the bully tactics of Planned Parenthood. She exposed the country’s leading abortion provider as a liberal political machine willing to destroy anyone or any organization to advance its agenda and secure the continued flow of nearly $1.5 million a day in government funding to its coffers.
Karen was first elected in 2003 as Chairman of the Fulton County (Georgia) Board of Commissioners, and she quickly earned a reputation for tenacity in balancing the county’s budget and dealing with corruption. Facing a $100 million budget deficit when she took office, Karen balanced the budget – and each budget under her tenure – with sound targeted spending cuts and without tax increases. Karen also secured passage of comprehensive ethics reform and gained statewide and national attention by leading the effort to remove the corrupt Sheriff from office after an audit revealed millions in missing and misappropriated funds. Karen’s efforts led to the recovery of nearly all of the missing funds.
As Georgia’s first elected Republican Secretary of State, Karen successfully defended and implemented photo ID for voting during the 2008 presidential election cycle, which saw record minority and overall voter participation. Karen reduced the department’s budget by nearly 20% by prioritizing programs, streamlining processes and eliminating waste and duplication. At the same time, the agency improved its customer service, reducing the processing time for corporate filings and professional licenses. Under Karen’s leadership, the Secretary of State’s office became the first “completely transparent” agency in state government by giving citizens access to all agency revenues and expenses on-line.
Karen launched her outsider campaign for Governor in 2009 campaigning on a platform of ethics reform, “real” cuts in government spending, and comprehensive education reform that focused on student and parent choice. She widely outperformed 3 much better-funded opponents in the Republican primary, but eventually lost in the primary run-off by less than 2500 votes.
Prior to elected office, Karen served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Sonny Perdue. Karen’s private sector experience includes executive management positions with CIBA Vision and the accounting firm of KPMG. She also served as president and CEO of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, where she led the chamber from the brink of bankruptcy to solvency, while driving an aggressive economic development program that helped create tens of thousands of jobs in North Metro Atlanta.
Karen is married to Steve Handel, whom she says is “a prince among men.” Karen and Steve live in Roswell, Georgia, with their Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Mia and Abbie.
Handel enters the field with Congressmen Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, and Jack Kingston. Businessman David Perdue said earlier this week that he has formed an exploratory committee in preparation for a campaign.