Karen Humphrey

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Karen Humphrey was a local news reporter, who later served as mayor of Fresno, California between 1989 and 1993. She was the first female mayor of Fresno.[1] She lost re-election to businessman Jim Patterson, not only losing in the primary, but only receiving 18% of the vote, and finishing third overall.


The start of Humphrey's career and professional life began when she was a news reporter and anchor for local news stations in Eureka and Fresno, California. She was the first woman reporter on air in Fresno. In 1979 she decided to take her talents elsewhere and was elected to the Fresno City Council, where she served two terms.[2]

Before her career as mayor, Humphrey also served 43 years as the executive director of the California Postsecondary Education Commission. As the executive director she worked in communications, public service, and education where she gained invaluable experience that prepared her for her future as mayor. As of February 2009 the Commission for the Administrator of the Improving Teacher Quality Program appointed her as Executive Director.[1][2]

Since her move to Sacramento, she has focused her attention on getting more women into public office.[3][4]


Humphrey obtained a bachelor's degree in humanities from the University of Southern California and a master's Degree in public policy and women's studies from California State University, Sacramento.[2]


Karen Humphrey is married to Ken Clarke, and the two reside in Sacramento.[2]


  1. ^ a b Johnson, Kelly (February 11, 2009). "Humphrey named education commission leader". Sacramento Business Journal. Retrieved August 12, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Executive Director Biography". Postsecondary Education Commission. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Moore, Joe (April 12, 2016). "Karen Humphrey: Fresno's First Woman Mayor To Celebrate League's 75th Birthday". Valley Edition. Fresno, California: Valley Public Radio. Retrieved August 12, 2016. 
  4. ^ Schlesinger, Paul (April 20, 2016). "Fresno's first female mayor says nation may be ready for woman president". Fresno Bee. Retrieved August 12, 2016.