“Yes Ma’am, Senator”! 

Our Chicago area readers of a certain age will remember the famous Barney’s Market Club steakhouse in the West Loop that stood for more than seven decades and was known for its stiff drinks, thick steaks and famous (albeit nutty) “Yes Sir, Senator” slogan. 

If the restaurant were still in existence, they’d have to change that slogan to “Yes Ma’am, Senator”.

Our readers may have heard that Kelly Loeffler, a native of Illinois farm country, last week was appointed as interim U.S. Senator for Georgia by the state’s governor, Brian Kemp. She will replace Johnny Isakson, who is stepping down at the end of the year due to health reasons.

There was quite a bit of ballyhoo in the press last week about Loeffler, a political newcomer but highly accomplished financial executive. Doug Collins, a member of Georgia’s House  delegation, was widely favored by both President Trump and many political conservatives. But Loeffler ultimately won the coveted appointment from Kemp, albeit for just one year until the November 2020 special election to replace the seat.

Many may know that Loeffler’s husband is ICE chairman and CEO Jeff Sprecher. She and Sprecher have been married for 15 years, and she is widely considered to be instrumental in the stratospheric growth trajectory of ICE, which ultimately acquired the NYSE and several other international exchanges worldwide over the last decade.

However, in addition to her leadership role at ICE where she has been at the helm of the marketing and communications departments, she is also a co-owner of the WNBA franchise Atlanta Dream, and sits on several major boards in the Atlanta area. More recently, she spearheaded a capital raise of over $120 million to launch Bakkt, a CFTC-approved bitcoin futures and options firm, with investments from ICE, Starbucks, Microsoft and others.

While the Bakkt website still lists Loeffler as the CEO, she will no doubt have to turn over day-by-day operations to her internal team once she assumes the Senate seat, though no official announcement has been made.

Her predecessor, Senator Isakson, has sat on several key committees over his career, including the Senate Committee on Finance. 

If Loeffler replaces Isakson on that committee, the Senate will have a fierce advocate for U.S. markets and digital assets, and one with a vast understanding of their workings. 

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