ROSWELL, Ga. – Former Georgia Secretary of State and U.S. Senate candidate Karen Handel rolled out last week her new “Only in Washington” campaign which for 42 days will each day highlight another incredible excess in budgetary common sense from Congress.
Handel said it is a graphic way to illustrate the need for new blood and fresh insights in Washington. The first one is the authorization by Congress to build the inmates at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, their own soccer field – one better than most high schools use.
“It was a good way to draw attention in an ongoing way just how broken Washington is,” Handel said. “Congress as an institution is broken. They can find the time to fund a fancy lighted soccer field for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay with a price tag of nearly $1 million, yet they can’t come up with a real plan to cut spending and reduce the debt.
“We haven’t had a budget in years, and Americans are still unemployed or underemployed. The economy is still lagging. These ridiculous things – like the soccer field for terrorists – are the things that do come out of Washington.”
Handel’s campaign plans to publish one “only in Washington” item a day for the next 42 days. Why 42? She says her congressmen-opponents have been in Congress for an aggregate 42 years.
Handel said what Congress should be doing – and what she will make her priorities – is rolling back the size and scope of the federal government, cutting spending in a rational, strategic way.
“We need to prioritize federal programs that need to be at the federal level. We need to get the economy going again by rebuilding the tax code so that there are fair lower rates for individuals and businesses,” she said. “Then we need to deal with the regulatory climate that is so over-burdensome.”
Regulations are creating a logjam that stifles small businesses.
“We need to repeal regulations that will free up innovation and job creation among small businesses and companies across America,” she said.
Handel said she has seen what such red tape does both as chairwoman of Fulton County and as secretary of state.
“Now there is a panel convened in Congress that is doing the opposite. Their job will be to speed up the government in implementing new regulations. We need to have less regulation on business so that we unleash the real spirit of innovation that drives job creation in America.”
What are needed in Washington are fresh ideas and a new perspective, she said. Her proven background and a track record of getting results are what Georgia needs in the U.S. Senate, Handel said.
She ticks off practiced ease that track record of not only standing up to the status quo but also getting things done:
• Taking over as president and CEO of the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce at a time when others were saying they should close the doors or merge with another entity.
• Coming in a special election as chairwoman of Fulton County to balance the budget holding a minority position when there were already four votes to pass a 3-mill tax hike.
“That has been my career and that is the kind of strategic problem-solving that I’m going to bring to Washington,” Handel said.
What she won’t be is the kind career politician who focuses on re-election by saying all the right things.
This article first ran in the Aug. 7 issue of the Johns Creek Herald.