This is part two of a question and answer session about Karen Handel
ROSWELL, Ga. – Karen Handel is no stranger to politics, running a campaign or being the underdog. She says she likes the challenge of proving her critics wrong.
Then she won a statewide election as secretary of state when Republicans were begging candidates to run against Democrats. In 2010, Handel was a complete dark horse in the gubernatorial race. Now she says she is a savvy campaigner who can win the Senate seat that incumbent Sen. Saxby Chambliss will not seek in 2014.
HATCHER HURD: What is the big issue in this race?
KAREN HANDEL: It is the crushing debt that is facing the next generation. We simply can’t pass that on to our children as a legacy. When I look where I started, a teenager who left a broken home and went out on my own, I know how fortunate I was to be an American.
Only in America could a person like me be having this conversation as a candidate for the Senate. But I don’t know what the future generations will be able to do if we don’t get this burden of debt off their shoulders. They simply won’t have the opportunities that I have had.
HH: So what makes you that person?
HANDEL: I know the people want a fighter up in Washington – someone who will hold the line that needs to be held regardless of the consequences. I’m a fighter because I have always had to be one. I have done that my whole career. I am not one for empty promises.
HH: But what specifically do you bring to the table?
HANDEL: It is not just about skills and experience. You need a passion for the job. You have to want to do the grunt work to get the job done. The devil is in the details. You have to scrutinize everything. That is what I bring. I bring my passion and my willingness to do the hard work to find those areas of the budget that must be cut. I am willing to make hard decisions.
HH: But how do you propose to beat three seasoned congressmen and their contacts after years in office?
HANDEL: I knew going into this race that there had to be a path to victory. It is not just about the people who write the checks. It’s about people who put their passion on the line and their sweat equity into the campaign.
It is an advantage to be a person who has not spent their whole career in Washington. They are all good individuals, but if you want to change things, then things have to change. You have to change the people in charge.
It is significant that I have run two statewide campaigns. While it is true my opponents have run campaigns in their local districts, I can tell you that statewide campaigning is exponentially on a different level.
I am coming out of the gate with people who recognize the challenge. I have name recognition all over the state. The governor’s race in terms of order of magnitude is bigger in every way. It is hard to put into words, but until you have been in it you can’t imagine.
You have to have a certain amount of tenacity to see the job done, and I have that. When I was secretary of state, people said we would never get photo I.D.s for elections passed. We got out from under a court order and rolled it out. We just kept our eyes on doing the right thing for the people of Georgia.
HH: How do you solve the problem of gridlock? It seems to be ingrained in Washington. What can one outsider do?
HANDEL: I see Washington as more about the willingness to kick the can down the road. They are more interested in doing what will get them through the next election than tackle the difficult issues.
We can’t move from the debt we have now to a balance budget right away, but need to have a strategic plan to get there. There is a road to get there, and the sooner we begin the sooner we will make that happen.
We need to get off the backs of business so that they can put the nation back to work. Obamacare will devastate small businesses while subsidizing more government. We have to get Americans back to work.
Government is just too big. Everywhere it infringes on personal freedom. Look at the IRS scandal. We need real tax reform and regulatory reductions. The real problems with government are less about ideology than they are about control. That is what big government really is all about.
When you have that level of arrogance, we the people must stand up. We don’t need bailouts and an economy that is artificially propped up by the government. We need to return the initiative to the private sector. It will require some sacrifices and hard work, but that has always been the American way.