Samuel S. Olens
|Samuel S. Olens|
|Attorney General of Georgia|
|January 10, 2011-present|
|Years in position||4|
|Predecessor||Thurbert E. Baker (D)|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||November 4, 2014|
|First elected||November 2, 2010|
|Cobb County Board of Commissioners|
|J.D.||Emory University School of Law (1983)|
|Date of birth||July, 8, 1957|
|Place of birth||Miami, Florida|
- 1 Biography
- 2 Political career
- 3 Elections
- 4 Campaign donors
- 5 Recent news
- 6 Personal
- 7 Contact information
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
Olens' professional career has largely been in the legal profession. He worked at Ezor & Olens, P.C., from 1983 through 2010. Before becoming attorney general, Olens was also chairman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners from August 2002 to March 2010. Previously, he was a Cobb County District Commissioner from 1999 through July 2002. Olens served as chairman of the Atlanta Regional Commission from December 2004 through 2009, and was vice-chair of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District from 2005 through March 2010.
Though native to Miami, Fla., Olens was raised mostly in New Jersey. He earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from American University before admission to Atlanta's Emory University School of Law brought him to the state which has since hosted and shaped his career.
After graduating from law school in 1983, Olens worked for Ezor & Olens, P.C. until 2010.
Prior to his election as Georgia attorney general, Olens received a number of awards recognizing his work as a lawyer and community leader, including, but not limited to:
- Liberty Bell Award (2005) from the Cobb Bar Association
- Excellence in Public Service Award (2007) from the University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute
- Lexus Leader of the Arts Award (2007) from Public Broadcasting Atlanta
- Tom Bradley Leadership Award (2008) from the National Association of Regional Councils
- Bachelor's degree, American University in international politics
- Master's degree, American University in international politics
- Juris Doctorate degree, Emory University
Attorney General of Georgia (2011-present)
Olens was elected Attorney General of Georgia on November 2, 2010, and took office the following January. He succeeded Thurbert E. Baker (D), who had decided to run for governor in 2010 rather than seek re-election as attorney general.
Olens' win in 2010 represented a victory of sorts for the state as well. For the first time in Georgia's history, a Jewish candidate was elected in a statewide, partisan race. Notwithstanding the patented Christianity of his conservative base, Olens understated the history-making implications of his win, indicating that geography (his New Jersey upbringing), rather than faith, was of greatest concern during the campaign.
Two consecutive chairmen of the Cobb County Commission, one of them Olens, the then-newly elected Republican State Attorney General, "told the county clerk to disregard a provision of a 27-year-old law that requires Cobb to document the actions of its county manager." County officials, who, by law, are required to keep minutes, contend the requirement is cumbersome and outdated. Unlike the county chairman, the manager is not a publicly elected official who conducts business openly; the law, therefore, was devised as a means in which to keep tabs on the person in power. However, this provision is quite unusual, at least in Georgia, as "neither the Georgia Municipal Association nor the Association County Commissioners of Georgia are aware of other jurisdictions that have to record minutes of their city or county managers." Time Lee, then-chairman of the Cobb County Commission, had said that the local government body had begun the process of repealing the measure in January 2011.
War against the tobacco industry
Olens refers to himself as an "adversary" in the war against the tobacco industry, stemming from the decision by big tobacco companies to challenge a multi-billion dollar settlement they made with states over 10 years ago. The suit had the potential to cost Georgia $120 million, a chunk of the state budget which, according to Olens, was substantial enough to justify his acceptance of a plane ride from a tobacco lobbyist. The ride was valued by the lobbyist at $1,500.
Ensuring the government's legal rectitude (with respect to the Georgia Constitution) and the full accountability of its activities are fundamental responsibilities of the office. As Attorney General, Olens has crusaded for raising the government's ethical standards, with special attention to the issue of transparency. Although accepting the ride was not technically illegal, as it would be in some other states, the ethics issue remained, for many, in doubt.
Olens fielded considerable criticism for flying on the lobbyist's dime, but insisted that the transparency which led to the public's discovery of said flight should be paramount in assessing the legal and ethical defensibility of his choice. In response to a reporter's question of whether he would make the same choice again under similar circumstances, Olens said, "I'm going to follow the law. I'm going to be transparent. And where I can save the state potentially 120-plus million, I'm going to try and save the state that money."
Although his Democratic predecessor, Thurbert Baker, had refused Republican Governor Sonny Perdue's request to join the twenty-plus other state attorneys general in filing suit against the federal government over the newly enacted health care reform measure, believing that the states did not have "a viable legal claim against the United States," Olens disagreed. In the midst of his campaign for state attorney general, Olens argued that the suit should not be bantered about as a "partisan issue" as the "law supersedes state sovereignty and the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution," a very serious issue.
Cobb County Commissioner, Board member (1999-2010)
After having served as Cobb County District 3 Commissioner for three years starting in 1999, Olens was elected as chairman of the five-member Cobb County Board of Commissioners. Republican Governor Sonny Perdue appointed him to represent the 6th Congressional District on the state's Department of Community Affairs Board in 2003. He was re-elected as chairman of the Cobb County Commission in 2005, where he remained until April 2010 when he resigned in order to concentrate on his attorney general campaign.
- See also: Georgia attorney general election, 2014
Olens won re-election to a second term as Attorney General of Georgia in 2014. Olens was unopposed for the Republican nomination in the primary on May 20, 2014, and overtook one challenger, Democrat Greg Hecht, in the general election. The general election took place November 4, 2014.
|Georgia Attorney General, 2014|
|Republican||Samuel S. Olens Incumbent||56.9%||1,436,987|
|Election Results via Georgia Secretary of State.|
- See also: Georgia Attorney General election, 2010
Olens announced his candidacy for attorney general in April of 2009. A little over a year later, Olens placed first in the Republican primary on Tuesday, July 20, 2010, but failed to garner enough popular support to avoid a runoff contest. He officially secured the party nomination three weeks later in the Republican primary runoff on August 10, 2010.
|2010 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary|
|Republican Party||Samuel S. Olens||39.9%|
|Republican Party||Preston Smith||30.6%|
|Republican Party||Max Wood||29.5%|
|2010 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary Run-Off|
|Republican Party||Samuel S. Olens||58.9%|
|Republican Party||Preston Smith||41.1%|
|2010 Race for Attorney General - General Election|
|Republican Party||Samuel S. Olens||52.9%|
|Democratic Party||Ken Hodges||43.6%|
|Libertarian Party||Don Smart||3.5%|
Comprehensive donor information for Olens is available dating back to 2010. Based on available campaign finance records, Olens raised a total of $2,203,220 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 8, 2013.
|Samuel S. Olens's Campaign Contribution History|
|2012||Attorney General of Georgia||$427,019|
|2010||Attorney General of Georgia||$1,776,201|
|Grand Total Raised||$2,203,220|
Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Sam Olens's donors each year. Click [show] for more information.
|Sam Olens's Campaign Contributions|
Georgia Attorney General
|Total Raised by General Election Opponents||$1,547,352 (Dem.)|
|Top 5 contributors||Sam Olens||$16,000|
|Raymond O. Boyd||$15,800|
|Mathis and Gary Freeman||$15,800|
|Jay M. Davis||$15,700|
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Olens and his wife, Lisa, have two children named Lauren and Jonathan.
Office of the Attorney General
40 Capitol Square, SW
Atlanta, Ga 30334
Phone: (404) 656-3300
Fax: (404) 657-8733
- Official Georgia Attorney General website
- Sam Olens's Facebook profile
- Project Vote Smart - Samuel Olens biography
- Campaign contributions: 2012, 2010
- Sam Olens for Attorney General 2014 Official campaign website, "Homepage," accessed April 1, 2014
- Attorney General of Georgia, " Biography of the Attorney General," accessed August 27, 2013
- Attorney General of Georgia, "Biography of the Attorney General," accessed September 12, 2011
- Sam Olens, "Meet Sam," accessed August 27, 2013
- Fresh Loaf, "WSB: Sam Olens to run for attorney general" 21 April, 2009
- Blogs: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Sam Olens breaks through an ancient Georgia barrier," November 6, 2012
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Cobb County manager law not followed" 13 Nov. 2010
- 11alive.com, "Olens:I took lobbyist trip to save state money," January 31, 2012
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Thurbert Baker’s answer to Sonny Perdue: Health care lawsuit a waste of money" 24 March, 2010
- Paulding County Republican Examiner, "Sam Olen's statements regarding Healthcare lawsuit" 14 Sept. 2010
- The American Presidency Project, "Mitt Romney Announces Support of Georgia Elected Officials and Leaders," October 27, 2011
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Cobb Commission Chairman Sam Olens resigns" 5 April, 2010
- Georgia Secretary of State, "Qualifying Candidate Information: Attorney General," March 6, 2014
- Georgia Secretary of State - 2010 Primary Election Results
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Olens wins GOP runoff for attorney general" 10 Aug. 2010
- Georgia Secretary of State - 2010 Republican Attorney General Primary Election Results
- Even though Sam Olens received the most votes, he failed to receive over fifty percent of those votes required by Georgia state law. A runoff election between the top two vote recipients, therefore, was required to decide who went on to the general election.
- Georgia Secretary of State - 2010 Republican Attorney General Primary Election Results
- Georgia Secretary of State - 2010 Attorney General General Election Results
- Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for Sam Olens," accessed July 8, 2013
- Follow the Money.org, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
- Project Vote Smart, "Biography: Sam Olens," accessed January 17, 2013
Thurbert Baker (D)
|Georgia Attorney General
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