GA-06: Karen Handel (R)
At 17, Handel fled an abusive home. She found a way to finish high school and graduate with her class. She worked her way up from clerk typist to executive roles with several global companies, including KPMG and the eyecare unit of Novartis. Handel would eventually land the role of CEO of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, one of Georgia’s largest chambers. Her leadership skills would be tested early on – the chamber was nearly bankrupt. Handel led the organization back to solvency and out of debt.
After serving as deputy chief of staff to Gov. Sonny Perdue, Handel was elected chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, the first woman to hold the office. Handel is credited with turning a $100 million deficit into a balanced budget without raising taxes.
Handel was elected Georgia’s 26th secretary of state. She implemented requiring photo IDs for voting. She executed an agency-wide modernization initiative, while cutting the department’s budget by nearly 20%.
In 2017, Handel won an 18-way special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, defeating Jon Ossoff in the run-off in the most expensive congressional race in U.S. history.
Handel was Georgia’s first Republican woman ever elected to Congress. She serves on the Judiciary and the Education & Workforce Committees, as well as the bicameral Joint Economic Committee.
Handel and her husband Steve share their Roswell home with their seriously spoiled Cavalier Spaniels, Abbie and Sadie.
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