Who is Karen?
I am a third generation resident of the Puget Sound and am proud of my deep family ties in the Northwest. I graduated from Rainer Beach High School in Seattle, hold an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Western Washington University and my Masters of Public Administration from Seattle University. My family lives all around Washington, including Seattle, Renton, Issaquah, North Bend, Snoqualmie, Camano Island and Wenatchee,. I also have family in Portland, Beaverton and Hood River as well as Juneau and Anchorage.
I learned many important lessons when I was growing up, but none may be more important than what I learned in Campfire. When I was in Campfire, we were taught to leave our campsite in better condition than we found it. That’s a lesson that has stayed with me, and it applies to all parts of my life. When leaving a job, I look back to see how I have left the organization in a better place than when I started. But when I look at the US Congress, I don’t feel that many that are presently there have embraced their work with the same sense of purpose. I believe we have an obligation to leave this county in a better place than when we received it from the previous generation. We have an almost sacred duty to create a country that is vibrant, alive, hopeful and thriving.
In my 25 years of working in the not-for-profit world, I have learned nothing is more important than creating community. I believe that government can be a vital partner in creating community, but government is not the only answer. Everyone who is part of the community must pull together if we are to find the answers to the problems facing us. Every member of our community has a right to succeed, and every member has a right to work and provide for their family. I will do everything I can to make our communities thrive. I believe that all of us have an obligation to contribute and support our communities. We should expect much from our communities, and in turn we need to build them up, and to ensure that when we turn this great county over to our children, they will look at us and say “This is a better place because you cared”.
My career has been focused on the areas of governance, strategic planning and organizational leadership for government and non-profits, making them better, stronger, healthier. As a consultant and faculty member in the Masters of Public Administration Program at Seattle University, I have worked to ensure the success of government departments, elected officials, universities and non-profit organizations. My experience includes strategic planning, board governance, strengthening management teams, building strategic partnership, fundraising, program development, government relations and communications.
I have been instrumental in helping organizations become better and stronger, and create the structures and funding they need for both capital projects and service programs. To date I have helped not-for-profit organizations raise more than $300 million dollars. As an affordable housing consultant, I have successfully developed funding for affordable senior housing in Washington and Montana, and have helped organizations manage both capital and housing projects, including planning and program development, financing, and managing construction.
I have served as a visiting professor and guest lecturer at a variety of universities including Antioch, the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, and the Da Nang University of Technology, Vietnam. I have also presented at numerous conferences including the Washington Institute of Leadership, the Contributions Management Institute, National Housing and Urban Affairs Conferences, Association of Fundraising Professionals conferences, National Lutheran Social Services conferences, the Western United States Sisters of Providence Foundation CEO Conference, the Washington Planned Giving Council, and the Eastside King County Non-Profit Government Coalition. As a result of my active involvement in creating opportunities for people, I earned my Advanced Certified Fund Raising Executive certification (ACFRE) from the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
I have the experience, background, and passion for our community to represent the people of the 8th district in Washington State. I am not a lifelong politician. I am a working person with the skills needed – required! – to help our district recover and thrive in these challenging times.
We cannot continue to perpetuate the disastrous effects of partisan politics and political division. Likewise, we cannot continue deferring tough decisions for political gain. We cannot continue to ignore ideas because they do not fit with some rigid ideology. We cannot continue putting special interest ahead of community interest. We cannot continue to take actions that leave our communities poorer and big corporations richer. It is not respectful to our parents who gave us this great county, and it is not what I want to leave to our children.
I believe that the decisions we will need to make in the coming years will be as difficult, as the challenges we face are hard. In my career, focused on building communities and creating opportunities for people, I have found finding the answers to challenging problems is possible if the right questions are asked, and if you listen carefully for the answers. As your Member of Congress, I will do this.. I want to hear from you. I want to hear your ideas. I want to hear what is important to you. I want to hear how we can make our communities strong and our county more vibrant. I want to know how we will restore that sense of optimism that is the core of the American spirit.