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AG candidate visits GOP women
Olens’ priorities include health care, immigration
Sam Olens, candidate for attorney general, addresses the Forsyth County Republican Women on Tuesday. - photo by Jennifer Sami
After eight years as chairman of the Cobb County commission, Sam Olens saw a great opportunity in running for state attorney general.

“You get to mix the practice of law with public service,” he said. “Thanks to our president, it’s a great time to be AG.”

Olens, a Republican who has practiced law for 25 years, will face Democrat Ken Hodges, an Albany prosecutor, for the seat being vacated by Thurbert Baker.

Olen won his party’s nomination over Preston Smith in an Aug. 10 runoff election.

During Tuesday night’s meeting of the Republican Women of Forsyth County, Olens talked about his decision to run and where he stands on issues he likely will face if elected in November.

Among his top priorities are illegal immigration, fighting for Georgia’s water supply, representing the state’s reapportionment map and continuing the battle against the federal health care bill.

According to Olens, the health care measure doesn’t live up to its promise. It may give access to health care, but not affordability, he said.

Olens added that the requirement to buy health care essentially serves as a tax for living. He talked about strategy for defeating the health care law, which he conceded would not be a quick process.

“None of us can promise you a victory. That will occur years from now in the U.S. Supreme Court,” he said. “This is a fight that’s going to take several years and we have to win. But it’s not just a partisan fight. It’s a real legal battle.”

Olens talked about measures for curbing illegal immigration, starting with the border.

During his leadership, Cobb became the first county in Georgia to adopt the 287(g) program, a partnership with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The program provides training and designation for local authorities to handle some immigration law enforcement functions. 

“We really need to have all 159 counties in the state on 287(g),” said Olens, adding that he would also push to improve enforcement against hiring illegal immigrants.

“We need to make a statement that if illegals want to work, they can go to Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, etc., but in Georgia we need to have our folks work.”

In response to a question, Olens said he disagreed with Elena Kagan’s confirmation as a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

“You could be the brightest person, but if all your experience in life is academic, you really shouldn’t be on the Supreme Court,” he said.
“Academia isn’t really reality.”

More discouraging than Kagan’s confirmation, Olens said, was swearing in Sonia Sotomayor as a justice.

“I think Justice Sotomayor’s opinions are far more threatening if you look at what she did on the appellate court beforehand,” he said. “I mean, she had like an 80 percent reversal rate.

“That’s not exactly who I want as my role model on the U.S. Supreme Court. There’s no value in precedence. There’s a value in respecting prior court decisions ... and clearly she doesn’t have it.”

Clara Beach, a member of the Republican Women of Forsyth County, said she attends all the group’s meetings to learn about the party’s various candidates.

“I feel like you should be informed and you should listen to the candidate, because how do you know unless you meet them and listen to them,” she said.

“[Olens] enlightened people that came to the meeting ... I did learn something, that’s for sure.”