Sam Olens

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Sam Olens
Attorney Sam Olens.jpg
47th Attorney General of Georgia
In office
January 10, 2011 – November 1, 2016
Governor Nathan Deal
Preceded by Thurbert Baker
Succeeded by Christopher M. Carr
Personal details
Born Samuel Scott Olens
(1957-07-08) July 8, 1957 (age 60)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Lisa Olens
Children 2
Alma mater American University (BA)
Emory University (JD)

Samuel Scott Olens (born July 8, 1957)[1] is an attorney with the global law firm Dentons, and the former Attorney General of Georgia. Olens was elected Georgia AG in 2010, resigning on November 1, 2016 (two years prior to the end of his term) following his appointment as President of Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta).[2] He subsequently resigned as KSU's president on February 15, 2018 - a decision he'd announced in December 2017 - due to controversy over his handling of issues that included a protest by football cheerleaders who knelt during the national anthem.[3]

Prior to his election as Attorney General, Olens served as chairman of the Cobb County, Georgia Commission from 1998 through 2010. He defeated former District Attorney Ken Hodges in the 2010 state elections for Attorney General, becoming the first person of the Jewish faith to win a statewide, partisan race in Georgia.[4] Following Olens' resignation announcement, Christopher M. Carr was appointed as his successor by Governor Nathan Deal.[5][6]

Early life and career[edit]

Olens is a Florida native, who was raised in New Jersey.[4] Olens graduated from the Emory University School of Law in 1983.[7] He was elected to the Cobb County Commission in 1998, serving until 2010.[8] He was the commission's chairman from 2002 to 2010. Since 2004, he has served as the chair of the Atlanta Regional Commission.[9]

2010 election[edit]

Olens defeated state senator Preston Smith to win the Republican nomination for attorney general.[10] In the general election, he defeated former Dougherty County District Attorney Ken Hodges.[11]

Legislative victories[edit]

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.[12][13]

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.[14]

Republican National Convention address[edit]

Olens delivered a primetime address on national healthcare reform and federal regulatory overreach to the Republican National Convention in Tampa on August 29, 2012.[15]

Most influential list[edit]

In January 2013, Olens was named to Georgia Trend magazine's "Most Influential Georgians: Georgia's Power List".[16]

Controversy as president of Kennesaw State University[edit]

In mid-September 2016, sources close to the University System of Georgia (USG) 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. Many university staff and student groups objected to the potential appointment, citing Olens' lack of university experience, previous support of Georgia's controversial attempt to ban same-sex marriage, the lack of a national search, and the lack of accountability and transparency in the process through which Sam Olens was chosen. This resulted in multiple campus protests, petitions, and letters from staff to the University System of Georgia administrators.[17]

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, minutes before a protest, to ask 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 voted on the matter on October 12, 2016 and Olens became Kennesaw State's fourth president under a unanimous vote. [18] His tenure officially began on November 1, 2016.[19]

A formal complaint was filed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by several faculty members who believe that discrimination was evident in Olen's appointment, as three women applied to the position but were apparently not considered. [20]

On December 14, 2017, Olens announced his resignation after bowing to behind-the-scenes pressure from conservative Georgia politicians and mishandling protests by cheerleaders [21].


Electoral history[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Stirgus, Eric. "Sam Olens set to start tenure as KSU president Tuesday". ajc. Retrieved 2016-11-02. 
  3. ^ "Dentons Adds Former Georgia AG Sam Olens | Daily Report". Daily Report. Retrieved 2018-02-22. 
  4. ^ a b Galloway, Jim (November 6, 2010). "Sam Olens breaks through an ancient Georgia barrier". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 
  5. ^ Attorney General Sam Olens to leave office, lead Kennesaw State University (OnlineAthens.com article-October 12. 2016)
  6. ^ Deal appoints Carr as attorney general (Office of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal News Release-October 12. 2016)
  7. ^ "Biography of the Attorney General". law.ga.gov. State of Georgia. Retrieved 18 October 2016. 
  8. ^ "Atlanta Forward: Sam Olens, Republican for attorney general". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. November 1, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Attorney General-elect Samuel S. Olens (GA)". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 18 November 2010. 
  10. ^ "Night of primaries reaps decisions in four states". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. August 11, 2010. 
  11. ^ Bluestein, Greg (November 3, 2010). "Olens defeats Hodges to win Georgia attorney general race". The Daily Citizen. Associated Press. 
  12. ^ "Attorney General Olens Recognizes National Human Trafficking Awareness Day". Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  13. ^ "Senate Passes HB 200 Combating Sex Trafficking". Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  14. ^ "HB 397 - Georgia's Updated Sunshine Laws". Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens to speak at GOP convention". onlineathens.com. 10 August 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2014.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  16. ^ Grillo, Jerry (January 2013). "Most Influential Georgians: Georgia's Power List". georgiatrend.com. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  17. ^ Bluestein, Greg. "Kennesaw State group targets Sam Olens, while supporters mount a defense | Political Insider blog". Retrieved 2016-10-04. 
  18. ^ Stirgus, Eric. "Sam Olens to interview for Kennesaw State presidency". ajc. Retrieved 2016-10-04. 
  19. ^ Yu, Elly. "Amid Protest, Sam Olens Begins KSU Presidency". Retrieved 2016-11-02. 
  20. ^ http://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/faculty-file-complaint-against-sam-olens-becoming-ksu-president/AcV3grzIDYtrbET6Bx3alO/
  21. ^ "KSU President Sam Olens to resign in February". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. December 14, 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2017. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Thurbert Baker
Attorney General of Georgia
2011–2016
Succeeded by
Christopher M. Carr