WHY IT MATTERS: It's the commissioner's job to implement the recently passed health care reform on a state level, regulate insurance providers and approve the rates charged for policies.
THE LOWDOWN: Surely you remember Ralph Hudgens, the far-right Republican state senator who proposed Octomom-inspired legislation limiting the number of embryos a woman could fertilize? Yep, the same guy who thinks insurance policies shouldn't be required to cover such procedures as mammograms and prostate screenings. Hudgens, who even opposes Medicare, has vowed to fight "Obamacare" — on the taxpayers' dime, of course.
Squires, an Atlanta-area Democrat who's worked as a lobbyist for a self-insurers association after several terms in the Gold Dome, takes a more realistic stance. The reforms are coming, she says, so the state better start preparing. Squires promises to clean up the department's much-tarnished reputation and serve as a consumer advocate.
THE OUTLOOK: Unfortunately, the current hatred of all things Obama could bode well for Hudgens.