A Conversation with Karen Handel
Karen Handel is the type of candidate that all Republicans should be supporting. She is running in Georgia for the U.S. Senate because she feels that problem solvers should replace career politicians. Upon interviewing her, American Thinker found her to be articulate, thoughtful, and someone who will stand up for what she believes.
American Thinker: Why did you decide to become a candidate?
Karen Handel: I saw what was happening in Washington and it became abundantly clear that we need new leadership. We need people that will be elected to the Senate that will stop America from sliding into mediocrity. Looking at the Atlanta Journal Constitution Senate Poll taken last month I had the highest statewide favorable rating among Republicans, a commanding advantage in Metro Atlanta and Southwest Georgia and a strong second in Southeast and North Georgia. I have supporters from the business side as well as the grassroots side.
AT: Because Michelle Nunn's daddy was Senator do you think you can win?
KH: There is a distinct difference in our policy positions. Georgians should understand she would be just another vote for Harry Reid. I believe I am the strongest individual to face off against her. I can go toe to toe with her on issues such as the economy, ObamaCare, and the Second Amendment.
AT: Can you briefly discuss your background?
KH: I left home at the age of seventeen because it was abusive. I worked three jobs after I left home, supporting myself as I went to college at night. I am a businessperson, having held executive management positions, which allows me to understand problems through a business filter. I was Chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners where I worked with my Democratic colleagues to balance the budget from a $100 million dollar budget deficit. We did it with spending cuts not tax increases. As Secretary of State, I successfully implemented photo ID for voting during the 2008 Presidential election that saw a record number of minority and overall voter participation.
AT: You know the Democrats will bring up the War on Women. How will you respond?
KH: I think it's the liberal agenda which is the real war on women. I am pro-life and will not shy away from that. With that said I also think there is a need to be compassionate and although I personally would not opt for an abortion under any circumstances I do think any law for an entire nation needs exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of a mother. I consider this issue twofold: the statutory part and the cultural issue. This cultural change does not happen by creating laws. I wrote about that in my book, Planned Bullyhood -- The Truth Behind the Planned Parenthood Funding Battle with Susan G. Komen for the Cure. It is one of the world's leading breast cancer organizations and has given grants to Planned Parenthood. I was, in the winter of 2011, Komen's Senior Vice President of Public Policy when the decision was made to amicably part ways with Planned Parenthood. Because Planned Parenthood unleashed a vicious media attack Komen surrendered and I resigned. As Margaret Thatcher said, relentless incrementalism is needed to really change and shift the direction for this country since it's been forty-one years from the Roe vs. Wade decision.
AT: Don't you think women should be concerned with more issues than this one?
KH: I would argue that the liberal agenda is much more detrimental to the progress of women. Think about what women need to be prosperous and move up the economic ladder in this country.
AT: The President talks of opportunity. What is your opinion on opportunity for all?
KH: Conservative policies are a path to moving up. Personally I know what it was like to work my way up and to struggle. The women, men, and families struggling in my state and across this country need a positive job creation program that includes job-training programs at the state level. The states should be the innovators, not the Federal Government, on how to educate our children for future jobs. Since jobs differ from state to state the training should align itself with the industries in that state. More dollars should stay at the local level.
AT: So you want to limit the Federal Government?
KH: Yes. We need to get our economy moving by getting the debt under control and rewriting the tax code. We have the highest business tax rate of any industrialized nation. Here in Georgia one of our main industries is regulated by nineteen Federal agencies. These regulatory costs are enormous and must be brought down.
AT: In 2011 Georgia passed an immigration bill -- do you support it?
KH: Yes. Because those in Washington fall short in delivering results states had to take action. Border security is vital to fixing the problem of illegal immigration in this country, but it is only half of the solution. According to the Wall Street Journal, 40% of the 11 million undocumented workers in this country did not sneak across the U.S.-Mexico border. Instead, they arrived here legally and have now overstayed their visas. This is a serious problem, and one of many problems that have just gotten worse, as Congress continues to kick the can down the road. Our agriculture commissioner has stated that the worker shortage has gone down significantly. I do support a guest worker program that puts in place a legal way to allow foreign workers to come to this country without breaking the rule of law if there is indeed a shortage of workers. Currently, I don't support the Gang of Eight immigration bill because it makes no sense. It doesn't solve the problems of how people easily can enter and stay in this country illegally.
AT: Would you repeal ObamaCare?
KH: Yes. To call it a train wreck is a great understatement. It is catastrophic for families, businesses, and our finances; these regulatory consequences will crush job growth. Federal control of 1/6 of our economy will not work. Besides it does not even address the real healthcare issues. Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) has a great bill. It is important to push a patient driven market control alternative. If you move from employer A to employer B you should have the ability to take your plan. I support competition, buying across state lines. ObamaCare does not address these two issues. We need high-risk pools to allow those, due to medical innovations, to not only survive but also thrive. Because young people are staying in school longer and have to deal with this anemic job growth I do agree that they should be allowed to stay on their parent's insurance until the age of twenty-six.
AT: Why do you think you can make a difference?
KH: I have proven my entire life I can get things done. I cut spending and helped to deliver a balanced budget. I was able to successfully implement voting photo ID. As a female Conservative from the South I can be a strong voice who will hold people accountable.
The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews, author interviews, and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.