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State & Regional Govt & Politics
Who is Kelly Loeffler?
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Who is Kelly Loeffler?

Who is Kelly Loeffler?
Gov. Brian Kemp has indicated he plans to appoint businesswoman Kelly Loeffler to fill the U.S. Senate seat Johnny Isakson is vacating at the end of the year. Loeffler is a co-owner of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream and the head of the financial services firm Bakkt. Vino Wong vwong@ajc.com

Who is Kelly Loeffler?

Politics

  • Gov. Brian Kemp has named businesswoman Kelly Loeffler to fill the U.S. Senate seat Johnny Isakson is vacating at the end of the year for health reasons. In the application she submitted to the governor’s office just under the deadline, Loeffler wrote about how she would support President Donald Trump and help “Keep America Great.”
  • In 2014, she considered running for an open U.S. Senate seat but passed up the opportunity. She said then, though, that she was concerned that “the average family or individual is being left behind and may not have the same opportunities that I had coming out of public schools just a couple of decades ago.”

Political assets

  • A multimillionaire, Loeffler will be able to self-finance her campaign in what could be an expensive special election next year to fill the remaining two years on Isakson’s term.
  • Political observers say she also may be able to bring back suburban women who have left the Republican Party during the Trump administration.

Political liabilities

  • Loeffler is not a favorite of the conservative wing of Georgia’s Republican Party. When her name surfaced as a contender for Isakson’s seat, critics circulated screen shots of past donations to Democrats, as well as more recent contributions from her company’s political action committee.
  • They also contrasted her support for Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012 – when she gave $750,000 to the candidate’s PAC – with her lack of financial support for Trump’s 2016 campaign for the White House. She has since ponied up to his campaign, including a $100,000 gift to participate in Trump’s Nov. 8 roundtable in Atlanta.

Career

  • Loeffler is the CEO of the financial services firm Bakkt and a co-owner of the Atlanta Dream, the city’s WNBA franchise.
  • She used to be the chief communications and marketing officer and head of investor relations for the Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange, a financial trading platform that owns the New York Stock Exchange. Intercontinental Exchange was founded by Loeffler’s husband, Jeff Sprecher.

Other professional activities

  • Loeffler also serves on the boards of Georgia Power and Grady Memorial Hospital. She has also served on the boards of the Georgia Research Alliance and Skyland Trail, a nonprofit residential treatment center for mental health serving adolescents ages 14-17 and adults.

Background

  • Loeffler was born in Bloomington, Ill., and grew up on the family farm, where she worked in the soybean fields. In high school, she competed in cross country, track and basketball.

Schooling

  • A bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois in 1992.
  • A master of business administration from DePaul University in 1999.

It’s official: Georgia governor taps Kelly Loeffler to replace Isakson

> Updates: Read more about Kelly Loeffler and Georgia Politics

> Related: Who is Doug Collins?

Read More

News

  • Ruiz Food Products is recalling certain El Monterey breakfast burritos for plastic contamination, officials said. >> Read more trending news  The company recalled 55,013 pounds of 12-count, value pack “El Monterey signature burritos with egg sausage and cheese with a best buy date of 1/15/2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. Three consumers complained after noticing hard, white plastic in a burrito. There are no reports of injuries. Consumers should return or throw away the burritos if they have them.
  • The House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump Tuesday morning -- abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. >> Read more trending news  The process of marking up, debating, amending and rewriting the articles of impeachment, is expected to begin begin Wednesday by the Judiciary Committee. The charges, if approved, would then be sent to the Senate, where the Republican majority would be unlikely to convict Trump. The Associated Press contributed to this report. 
  • Crews spent Tuesday trying to rescue a manatee with a bicycle tire wrapped around its body at a Florida state park, WFTV reported. >> Read more trending news   Rescue efforts at Blue Spring State Park. were unsuccessful, but SeaWorld Orlando officials said they will continue to try to rescue the animal. If it is captured, the manatee would be taken to SeaWorld for treatment. The rescue team comprises the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, SeaWorld, the Save the Manatee Club and the Volusia County government.
  • All Saudi military trainees have been grounded indefinitely from flight training at air bases across the country after a deadly shooting by a member of the Saudi Royal Air Force at Naval Air Station Pensacola. There are 852 Saudi students across the country. More than 300 Saudi military trainees are stationed at three bases in Florida. >> Read more trending news  The restriction includes 140 students at the naval base in Pensacola; 35 at nearby Whiting Field; and another 128 students at Naval Air Station Mayport, The Associated Press reported. Classroom training will continue this week. Flight training for other students will also resume while military leaders examine the vetting process, The New York Times reported. An estimated 5,100 international students training at U.S. military installations will also be part of the review. The order is in an effort to ensure student safety as they recover from the trauma of the shooting. The Saudi shooter killed three members of the U.S. military and injured eight others before he was fatally shot. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Depending on one’s perspective, pigeons wearing tiny cowboy hats is either an amusing sight or a terrible example of animal abuse. What’s undeniable is that two pigeons were spotted in a Las Vegas parking lot, wearing the miniature head gear. >> Read more trending news  Bobby Lee was heading to the grocery store Thursday when he saw the birds pecking the ground in a parking lot near a dumpster, The New York Times reported. Pigeons are not unusual in Las Vegas, but Lee pulled out his cellphone and began recording video when he noticed two birds with tiny hats -- one red, and one gray, KNVT reported. Lee posted the video to Facebook, the television station reported. The video has gone viral on Facebook and Twitter, the television station reported. “The birds have hats on, bro!” Lee, 26, can be heard during the 12-second video he originally posted on Facebook. “It got a lot of attention fast,” Lee told the Times. “The day after, I had a lot of news people texting me and people trying to buy my video.” Who would put hats on wild birds? Lee said he did not know, but he did say the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo was in town. But the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, which organizes the event, “had nothing to do with the pigeons wearing cowboy hats,” Scott Kaniewski, the editor of ProRodeo Sports News, told the Times. Animal welfare agencies contacted Lee, including Lofty Hopes, a bird rescue organization. The group asked him to be vigilant and report if any more birds had hats, the Times reported. Charles Walcott, a Cornell University ornithologist who has been studying pigeons for 30 years, viewed the video Tuesday and said the pigeons seemed to be OK despite the headwear, the Times reported. “I enjoyed the video,' Walcott told the newspaper. 'I just thought those pigeons with hats were cute. 'I think the thing that I would emphasize is I can’t see that it is causing any great harm to the pigeons. The hats are “certainly light enough. They look like happy pigeons to me. It is hard to know, of course, because they will not talk to us.”
  • Workers at a Bed, Bath & Beyond store in North Carolina were surprised to find a 14-year-old runaway inside, police said. >> Read more trending news  According to Greenville police, the 14-year-old boy ran away from home and hid in the store overnight, WITN reported. When employees arrived to open the store about 8:30 a.m., they saw someone inside and called the police, Kristen Hunter, spokeswoman for the Greenville Police Department, told the News & Observer of Raleigh. Officers responded to the store for a “breaking and entering in progress” and found the teen, the newspaper reported. The teen, whose name was not released, was returned home safely, WRAL reported.