Karen Handel addresses livable wage comment

ATLANTA — Republican Karen Handel is clarifying a comment she made in Tuesday night's 6th District Congressional debate on Channel 2.

Handel said she did not support a livable wage. The video of her comment has been trending worldwide on YouTube since.

Channel 2 political reporter Richard Elliot spoke with Handel Wednesday afternoon.

She told Elliot she meant a livable wage as mandated by the federal government. It's that mandate, she said, that she opposes.

For nearly an hour, Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff debated on Channel 2 Tuesday evening.

Then a little more than halfway through, while talking about the minimum wage, Handel made the comment about a livable wage.


“I do not support a livable wage. I support making sure we have an economy that is robust,” Handel said.

Ossoff supporters pounced on that one statement and in less than 24 hours, video of that remark trended worldwide on YouTube.

Elliot met with Handel outside her north Fulton County campaign headquarters and asked her about it Wednesday afternoon.

She said what she meant is that she doesn't support higher salaries through government mandates.

“I was talking about the mandate. My opponent believes that having more federal government mandates is what will grow salaries. What I believe is the solution for all working Georgians to be able to earn a better salary.

Elliot met up with Ossoff at a Sandy Springs campaign event. He said he believes the debate showed the differences between the two candidates.

“I think the contrast is pretty clear between a fresh, independent voice for this community and, with all due respect to my opponent, a career politician,” Ossoff told Elliot.

Handel believes the question of government mandates draws the contrast, too.

“I really believe that the solution to helping insure that all hard-working Georgians can make a good salary is not through mandates. My opponent believes that government should mandate and dictate,” Handel said.

During the debate, Ossoff said he believed a minimum wage should be a living wage and should be indexed to the cost of living.