Samuel Scott "Sam" Olens (born July 8, 1957)[1] is the Attorney General for the state of Georgia. Previously, he was the chairman of the Cobb County Commission. He defeated former District Attorney Ken Hodges in the 2010 state elections in Georgia. Olens is the first person of the Jewish faith to win a statewide, partisan race in Georgia.[2] On October 3, 2016, the University System of Georgia announced publically that it was considering Olens for appointment to the office of President of Kennesaw State University.

Early life and career

Olens is a Florida native, who was raised in New Jersey.[2] He was elected to the Cobb County Commission in 1998, serving until 2010.[3] He was the commission's chairman from 2002 to 2010. Since 2004, he has served as the chair of the Atlanta Regional Commission.[4]

2010 election

Olens defeated state senator Preston Smith to win the Republican nomination for attorney general.[5] In the general election, he defeated former Dougherty County District Attorney Ken Hodges.[6]

Legislative Victories

Alarmed by the sex trafficking statistics in Georgia, Olens joined forces with legislators to advocate for a stronger human trafficking law in Georgia. HB 200 went into effect on July 1, 2011.[7][8]

Olens worked alongside legislators to pass a re-write of Georgia's Open Meetings and Open Records Laws. HB 397 was the result in the 2012 legislative session, and was signed by Gov. Nathan Deal on April 17, 2012.[9]

Republican National Convention Address

Olens delivered a primetime address on national healthcare reform and federal regulatory overreach to the Republican National Convention in Tampa on August 29, 2012.[10]

Most Influential List

In January 2013, Olens was named to Georgia Trend magazine's "Most Influential Georgians: Georgia's Power List".[11]

President of Kennesaw State University

In mid-September 2016, sources close to the University System of Georgia leaked information that Olens might be on a short list to appointment as president of Kennesaw State University, in Kennesaw, Georgia. The university's previous president, Dr. Daniel S. Papp, retired on May 10, 2016, and the University System of Georgia's Chief Academic Officer Dr. Houston Davis was appointed as acting president pending a replacement. Some university staff and student groups objected to the potential appointment, citing Olens' previous support of Georgia's controversial attempt to ban same-sex marriage. This resulted in campus protests and letters from staff to the University System of Georgia administrators.[12]

On October 3, 2016, Hank Huckaby, the Chancellor of the University System of Georgia, sent an open letter to all faculty and students of Kennesaw State University with a confirmation that Olens was indeed being considered for the role of president. On October 4, 2016, Olens participated in an "open interview" before a USG open session of the Board of Regents’ Executive and Compensation Committee, at which time he formally requested the job. Later that afternoon, the USG Chancellor once again notified the Kennesaw State University of the status of Olens' request via email, and asked that the university community keep an open mind. Included in the email was a letter from Olens to the Board, in which Olens specifically cited his previous experience as Cobb County Commissioner and his ties to the community. The Board was scheduled to vote on the matter on October 12, 2016.[13]

Electoral history

Georgia Attorney General Republican Primary Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Sam Olens 229,769 39.9
Republican Preston Smith 176,656 30.6
Republican Max Wood 170,067 29.5
Georgia Attorney General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Sam Olens 1,351,090 52.9
Democratic Ken Hodges 1,112,049 43.6
Libertarian Don Smart 88,583 3.5
Georgia Attorney General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Sam Olens (inc.) 1,436,987 56.93
Democratic Gregory "Greg" Hecht 1,087,268 43.07

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Thurbert Baker
Attorney General of Georgia
2011–present
Incumbent