A fierce proponent for those being dismissed by the system, Karen has been advocating for the rights and fair treatment of students and the disabled for over 40 years. Now she’s ready to advocate for you.
My life has been spent working for other people’s freedom. My dad was a high school teacher who quickly moved into school administration. Service to the community was never preached; it was lived, and the importance of supporting the community that supported you was on display daily, and providing the best education possible to every single student was a part of that. He understood that a good education makes you more free by giving you a better understanding of the world as well as more career choices.
Dad also taught me that we should always leave a place better than we found it. By his example, I saw that this means far more than simply picking up someone else’s soda cans; in its deepest sense, it means cleaning up the mental garbage that some use to get their way at the expense of your freedom.
Following in Dad’s footsteps, I became a teacher. I have spent my life advocating for and educating the overlooked and underfunded. You are not free if you or your children are denied a good education because it limits your choices. You are not free if someone else makes your choices for you, without even considering what you would like. You are not free to take advantage of school or to be employed if you’re always sick. I am unafraid to speak truth to power or go toe-to-toe to advocate for your freedom. I also know how to compromise—how to work with others to get the best deal possible. Progress sometimes comes in great leaps forward and other times in baby steps. But progress is, in my book, a law.
I grew up in a rural area known as The Valley of Heart’s Delight. Today, it is a part of Silicon Valley. I was there as it changed from a rural haven to a worldwide tech center. I’ve lived and worked in the city and in the country and am well-aware of the misunderstandings that city-dwellers frequently have of rural life, communities, and needs.
As a teacher, I learned to explain new concepts as often and in as many different ways as necessary, to get the point across. I can explain the needs of our communities repeatedly in Salem, both to those who will listen and those who won’t. You need an advocate who will speak up for your values and why they’re important. You need someone who will work to make sure that laws reflect community values and needs and that protect you from the unscrupulous and powerful. My 40+ years of experience explaining the needs of the unheard to those in power have prepared me to do this for you.
My husband and I chose to move here. We chose this corner of the world because of its beauty and recreational opportunities and because of you. This is a supportive, friendly place to be, a place where we feel welcomed and valued, where we see veterans and parents and business owners treated with respect. You know the value of a good day’s work. We are privileged to live here and be a part of this community.