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Mornings unPHILtered - Handel states case in governor's race
Karen Handel
    Wednesday's guest on the “Mornings unPHILtered” show was Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel. Handel is seeking to become the Republican candidate in next year's race for governor.
    Handel has traveled all around the state, both in her role as secretary of state and as a gubernatorial candidate. Asked why she wants to run for governor, Handel said that she loves a challenge and sees that the next governor will have plenty of challenges to deal with.
    Handel told host Phil Boyum that she has tackled tough financial and ethical problems in both the private and public sectors. Handel started out her political career as deputy chief of staff to Marilyn Quayle, former Vice President Dan Quayle's wife.
    Handel next worked in the private sector for eyewear giant Ciba Vision and the accounting firm KPMG. Moving to Georgia, she assumed the role as president and CEO of the Greater Fulton County Chamber of Commerce.
    In 2002, Gov. Sonny Perdue named Handel his deputy chief of staff. In that job, Handel served as Purdue's senior policy advisor. She also supervised constituent services, the Governor's Mansion, and general administration services.
    Handel said the state must immediately focus on the small businesses of Georgia, and must try harder to assist the inventive and entrepreneurial spirit of state residents. Handel insists that tax cuts are needed.
    Handel said she has kept costs down and has significantly reduced the cost of running the Secretary of State's office. She reduced the duplication of job duties and paperwork in her department, and made many of the ways to apply for licenses in her office both easier and quicker.
    Handel then reduced her staff from 450 employees down to 300, as the office ran more efficiently. Handel has made ethics her watchword, and she said she led the call for House Speaker Glenn Richardson's resignation.
    She said that the culture in the state capital has gotten to the point that it almost encourages bad behavior, she promised to continue to press for strong conflict of interest rules. She wants to limit the value of gifts that can be given legislators, which often lead to back-door agreements that are questionable.
    In fact, she said, the state legislators have managed to exempt themselves in many ways from prosecution for questionable behavior. Campaign finance laws in the state do not cover what now are claimed as just simple gift giving.
    Handel's agency was the first state department to implement her “Transparency in Government” initiative, which allows anyone to go on-line and see how all purchases are handled, all the way down to the purchase of a single item.
    Concerning the status of public education in Georgia, Handel promised to do what she could to get school systems to stop focusing on the ever-increasing number of tests that are forced to take, and get them to ensure that the teachers are given the support they need best teach the state's schoolchildren.
    “Mornings unPHILtered” airs live Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on and also simulcast on WWNS-AM 1240 on the radio. You also can listen anytime at on
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