Karen Handel was elected in November 2006 and sworn in to office on January 8, 2007 as Georgia’s first Republican Secretary of State. This important constitutional office oversees elections, corporations, securities, and professional licensing boards, and also controls the state archives and the Capitol museum. Using her vast experience in government, business, and community involvement, Secretary of State Handel brings a straight-forward, hard-working attitude to state government and isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo.
As the President and CEO of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce Secretary Handel was directly responsible for working with state, local, national and international organizations to bring job growth to north Fulton County. She has also served as an executive at several Fortune 500 companies, including global eye care company CIBA Vision and international accounting firm KPMG.
Mrs. Handel has served in several roles in government where her marketing and business skills and record of accomplishment have served her well. As a Deputy Chief of Staff for the Bush-Quayle White House, she worked directly with Mrs. Quayle to increase national breast cancer awareness. In 2002, Mrs. Handel served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Sonny Perdue, where she oversaw constituent services, the Governor’s Mansion, and general administration services.
In 2003, Karen Handel was elected Chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commission. As Chief Executive for the state’s largest and most populous county, Mrs. Handel was able to balance the budget without raising taxes. In addition, she is credited with passing the strongest ethics laws of any local government, and uncovering corruption involving the Fulton County Sherriff.
Mrs. Handel has been lauded for her leadership abilities in several publications including Georgia Trend Magazine’s “One of the 100 Most Influential Political Leaders in Georgia;” Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “Most Influential Atlantans;” and B2B magazine’s “Georgia’s Diva,” an award recognizing the state’s leading business women.
Karen Handel was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in Upper Marlboro, MD. Karen and her husband Steve -- an executive in the IT industry, live in Roswell, Georgia, with their two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Maggie and Mia.