Interview with Samuel Olens, March 28, 2019

Collection: Two-Party Georgia Oral History Project

Dublin Core


Sam Olens was born on July 8, 1957 in Miami, Florida, and grew up in South New Jersey. He graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in international politics from American University in Washington D.C. and earned a J.D. from Emory University School of Law in Atlanta. Olens was elected to the Cobb County Commission in 1998, and he became Chair of the Cobb County Commission in 2002. He defeated Democrat Ken Hodges in 2010 to become Attorney General of Georgia and was reelected in 2014. He was named President of Kennesaw State University in November 2016 and served until February 2018. Olens is currently counsel at Denton’s Public Policy practice and a member of its State Attorneys General group. He resides in Cobb County.

Olens discusses his childhood and growing up in rural New Jersey before attending American University in Washington D.C. He turns to his decision to attend Emory University and settle in Cobb County. Olens reflects on his work with the East Cobb Civic Association and the differences between east Cobb and other areas of the county. He talks about his 1997 campaign for Cobb County Commission, the issues that came before that body, and his eventual promotion to commission chair in 2002. Olens recalls the impact of the Great Recession on Cobb County before discussing his successful run for Georgia Attorney General. He assesses that office’s role, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision granting same-sex marriage rights nationwide, and other issues that arose between 2011 and 2017 when he resigned to become President of Kennesaw State University. The interview turns to Olens’s assessment of Georgia’s changing politics, including the changing dynamics within the Georgia Republican Party. He also talks about President Donald Trump’s impact and the 2018 midterm elections.






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Samuel Olens and Ashton Ellett, “Interview with Samuel Olens, March 28, 2019,” UGA Special Collections Libraries Oral Histories, accessed December 7, 2022,