In announcing his 2018 run, Abel said he wants to work across political lines to find solutions for health care, immigration, Social Security, climate change, campaign finance and the national debt.
“I am committed to engaging earnestly with members of both parties to find the common ground for which we Americans so deeply yearn,” said Abel, the co-founder with his wife, Cindy, of Alpharetta-based IT consulting firm Abel Solutions.
He has been active in support for refugees, rising to vice chair on the board of New American Pathways and leading efforts at Temple Sinai to aid an Atlanta-area refugee family. He also has served on the boards of the Carter Center, the Arthritis Foundation’s Georgia Chapter, the Davis Academy, the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Technology Association of Georgia.
Cindy Abel served as Hands On Atlanta’s interim CEO in 2016, and the Abels received the organization’s Changemakers of the Year award this year.
Abel joins former CBS 46 news anchor Bobby Kaple in launching Democratic challenges to Republican Rep. Karen Handel, who was elected June 20 to fill the congressional seat Tom Price vacated when he became President Donald Trump’s health and human services secretary.
Jon Ossoff, the Jewish Democrat who finished first in the open primary for the seat in April and received about 48 percent of the vote in the runoff against Handel, recently moved into the 6th District in Brookhaven. Living outside the district was an issue for him in the special election.
Ossoff has not said whether he will run again in 2018.
Abel said he moved into the district, which Republicans have won in every congressional election since 1978, when he and Cindy bought their first house in Alpharetta after marrying in March 1992. They have raised three children.
Abel, a native of South Africa, immigrated with his family to Texas when he was 14. He graduated from the University of Texas. He moved to the Atlanta area in 1990.
He issued the following statement on why he is running for Congress:
I came to America as an immigrant. I received an incredible public education. I started my own business. I have a beautiful wife and three lovely children. I have truly lived the American Dream.
But while my family and I have enjoyed the American Dream, this beacon of hope and opportunity has been eroded. Our national political arena has devolved into a perpetual shouting match; anger and acrimony dominate our national dialogue. Republicans and Democrats alike have an abysmal view of our United States Congress.
This is quite frightening when you think of it. After all, our democracy, our freedom, the perpetuation of our great American experiment depends on a government that represents the interests of the electorate and works to address the key issues that impact us all. When the voters have no faith or trust in this government, it cannot be long before the experiment will fail.
My candidacy represents an effort to rekindle the spirit of public faith in government. We the people — the voters; Americans — deserve better in our elected officials. But it begins and ends with us. We need to vote for the candidate we want in government, not for the least distasteful person our Party puts on the ballot. I want this election to be about putting America back on course; about ensuring that our children and grandchildren and future new Americans can aspire, as I have, to realize the American Dream.
I am inspired to represent people who truly want change. I am inspired to bring together people across the aisle to address our country’s biggest domestic challenges including health care policy, immigration, social security, climate change, campaign finance, and the ever expanding debt.
That is why I’m proud to be a candidate for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.
I’m running as a Democrat, but let’s be clear: I’m first and foremost an American. If elected, I will work tirelessly to deliver results for our entire community; I am committed to engaging earnestly with members of both parties to find the common ground for which our fellow Americans across the country so deeply yearn.
If we take a step back and look at our democracy, if we consider our freedom, if we recognize our strength, we should be awed. Let’s look beyond the needs of the individual and see that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.