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Number of Women in Congress to Increase with Election of Rep.-Elect Karen Handel

On June 20, Karen Handel (R-GA) won a special election to fill the seat once held by then-Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), who currently serves as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Once sworn in, Rep.-elect Handel will increase the number of women serving in the House of Representatives to 89 (including the Delegates from American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). This number includes 24 Republicans and 65 Democrats, and will raise the number of women serving in the 115th Congress to 110. Twenty-one women currently serve in the Senate.

Rep.-elect Handel was elected as chair of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners in 2003. She later was elected as Georgia Secretary of State in 2006, an office she held until 2010 when she ran unsuccessfully for governor. In 2014, she ran for the Senate seat held by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), who retired.

Prior to her tenure as an elected official, Rep.-elect Handel served as president and chief executive officer of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce and was an executive at several major companies. She previously served as the senior vice president for public policy at Susan G. Komen, deputy chief of staff for then-Gov. Sonny Perdue (R), and deputy chief of staff for Marilyn Quayle, wife of former Vice President Dan Quayle.

The first Republican woman to represent Georgia in Congress, Rep.-elect Handel attended the University of Maryland and is expected to focus on health care, small business, and the economy.

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