Karen Goh

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Karen Goh
Karen Goh.png
26th Mayor of Bakersfield
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded byHarvey Hall
Personal details
Born1955 (age 66–67)
Political partyRepublican
EducationUniversity of Southern California (BM, MM)
WebsiteCampaign website

Karen K. Goh (born 1955) is an American politician and non-profit organization executive from California. Goh is the 26th and current mayor of Bakersfield, California, since January 3, 2017.

Early life[edit]

In 1955, Goh was born in India. Goh's parents were Harry and Kathleen Goh, missionaries during the British Raj. Goh has a brother, David Goh. In June 1962, at seven years old, Goh and her family moved from London, England to Bakersfield, California. Goh's parent provided ministry leadership for the Bakersfield Chinese Church. Goh's family founded Garden Community Church in Bakersfield, California. At age 12, Goh became a naturalized U.S. citizen. Goh graduated from Bakersfield High School.[1][2][3][4]


In 1978, Goh earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from USC. In 1981, Goh completed all courses in Master of Music Education from USC.[5]


Goh was a music instructor at Bakersfield Christian Life Schools and then moved to New York City to work at the McGraw-Hill Companies, where she held several positions including vice president of publishing operations.[5]

After returning to Bakersfield in 2005, Goh volunteered at Garden Pathways for five years.

On December 10, 2010, Goh became the fifth district supervisor of Kern County, until 2013.[6]

In 2013, Goh became the President and CEO of Garden Pathways, a non-profit organization, in Bakersfield.[5] [7]

On November 8, 2016, at age 60, Goh won the runoff election and became the 26th mayor of Bakersfield, California. Goh defeated Kyle Carter with 52.75% of the votes.[8] Goh became the first mayor of Asian descent and second woman mayor in Bakersfield, California.[5][2][6]

Goh was reelected to a second term following the March 3, 2020 primary election.[9]


  • 2015 California Woman of Excellence. Presented by Distinguished Young Women of California.[5]
  • 2015 International Women’s Day Award. Presented by International Women’s Day Inc.[5]
  • 2016 Wendy Wayne Award. Presented by Cal State Bakersfield/Kegley Institute of Ethics.[5][10]

Personal life[edit]

In March 2004, Goh's mother died in Bakersfield. In 2005, Goh moved from the East Coast back to Bakersfield. Goh is unmarried.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kotowski, Jason (March 4, 2020). "Update: Karen Goh takes big lead to remain Bakersfield's mayor". kget.com. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Mayor's Biography". bakersfieldcity.us. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Burger, James (December 4, 2010). "Who is Karen Goh". bakersfield.com.
  4. ^ Wenner, Gretchen (December 4, 2010). "Goh's history tied to local church". bakersfield.com. Retrieved March 4, 2020.(b.1955)
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Christie, Casey (April 22, 2016). "Mayoral Candidate Profile: Karen Goh". bakersfield.com. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Nessia, Mark (September 27, 2018). "An ordinary person living an extraordinary life". bakersfield.com.
  7. ^ Mayer, Steven. "Karen Goh installed as mayor of Bakersfield". The Bakersfield Californian. Retrieved 2017-05-19.
  8. ^ "Kern County Election Results". kernvote.com. November 8, 2016. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  9. ^ Californian, The Bakersfield. "Kern County Elections Division certifies results". The Bakersfield Californian. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
  10. ^ "Wendy Wayne Ethics Award - Award History and Criteria". csubak.edu. Retrieved March 4, 2020.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of Bakersfield