Hodges starts his final campaign push for AG

ALBANY -- In one of his last stops in Albany for his campaign, Ken Hodges spent a few days this week touting his prosecutorial record while promising that he would represent the people of South Georgia just as vigorously as he would those in Atlanta if elected.

Hodges is facing former Cobb County Commission Chairman Sam Olens to be the first elected attorney general in Georgia in more than three decades.

In his visit to Albany this week, Hodges has hit Olens hard on comments Olens made during a conference call with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce in which he said that his decision to run for the AG spot was made because "I (Olens) was getting bored."

In a video posted on YouTube which plays the comments Olens made during the call, he can be heard saying:

"The main reason that I seriously considered running for Attorney General rather than staying as head of the Atlanta Regional Commission and Cobb County was I was getting bored. It was not a challenge anymore."

Hodges and his campaign quickly struck on the comments saying that the philosophy Olens' exhibited in his comments illustrates the difference between the two.

"It's a perfect example of what voters have in this race," Hodges said. "You have me, a former prosecutor who has made a career out of protecting the people of Southwest Georgia, who is interested in serving the people of Georgia and you have Sam Olens, a person interested only in riding the Republican wave into higher office and on into the governor's mansion four or eight years from now."

Olens told the Associated Press Wednesday that the comments have been taken out of context to make a political point.

"There are too many critical issues facing Georgia right now to be taking conversations out of context and attempting to turn them into election issues," he said.

In his interview with the Herald Thursday, Hodges said that he is a fiscal and law enforcement conservative who has garnered the support of 125 Republican and Democratic Sheriffs and law enforcement officials.

He also continued to hit Olens on his lack of prosecutorial experience and vowed, if elected, to keep the office of Attorney General as the people's attorney, not the governor's, whomever that may be.

"The attorney general is the constitutionally elected representative of the people of Georgia whose job is to provide proper legal representation, action and advice on behalf of the people," Hodges said. "The attorney general should be an independent voice in government in Atlanta. They're not the governor's attorney, they're the people's attorney."

One area where both candidates apparently agree, at least in some regards, is on the need to have a legal review of health care legislation passed this year by Congress.

"I and Sam Olens have said publicly that we have no problem with certain portions of the bill," Hodges said. "But I believe there does need to a review of the provisions that place certain unfunded mandates and burdens on local and state governments."