Karen has served since 2009 and is known as a very hard worker and the person who is “always there” on the Council. She has been a leader on such issues as Downtown Revitalization, having master plans for our street and utility programs, plans to relocate the Polk-Quincy Viaduct, public safety initiatives such as the District 1 Crime Summit and support for community policing, revamping our animal control codes, development of a master bikeways plan, advocacy towards our city becoming debt-free, recruiting diverse and “new blood” to over 60 city board and commission positions, as well as countless district and constituent issues regarding neighborhoods, code compliance, brick streets, riverfront development, fireworks policy,emerging initiatives in job and workforce development and more.
Prior to her service on the Council, Karen retired in 2007 as Executive Director of Housing and Credit Counseling, Inc., a nonprofit based in Topeka, after almost 34 years of agency growth, program excellence, service and leadership. HCCI’s work citywide in tenant-landlord, homebuyer and consumer credit counseling, education and issues as well as her experience there in budgeting, strategic planning, management and advocacy gave her a solid base for her work today. She has been a community leader on such projects as the Washburn-Lane Parkway Lights and the establishment of the Aaron Douglas Mural and Aaron Douglas Art Fair for diverse and emerging artists. She is a graduate of the Leadership Topeka Class of 2004. Her current primary personal investments are in cultivating our heart and heritage through arts and activities for all populations in Topeka and saving Sumner School.
Other than community service, she loves to spend time with family and friends, is often seen biking or walking to events, loves to cook and spend time at home, and is often out and about at arts, music and theater events. She has three grown sons, all Topeka High graduates, and two grandchildren, of whom she is very proud and whose company she very much enjoys.