Karen Minnis

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Karen Minnis
63rd Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives
In office
Preceded by Mark Simmons
Succeeded by Jeff Merkley
Constituency Multnomah County
Personal details
Born July 1954 (age 62)
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) John Minnis
Residence Fairview, Oregon[1]
Profession Politician

Karen Minnis (born July 1954) is an Oregon Republican politician in United States. She was a member of the Oregon House of Representatives from 1998 to 2009, and served as Speaker of the House from 2003 to 2006.

Early life[edit]

Born and raised in Portland, Minnis is a graduate of James Monroe High School in Portland and attended Clark Community College in Vancouver, Washington. She married her high school sweetheart, John Minnis, in 1972, with whom she has three children:[2] two married sons and a daughter. They also have three grandsons and one granddaughter.[citation needed]

While a housewife, Minnis held jobs as a dental assistant, a waitress, and delivering newspapers, putting John through college. John first told Minnis he wanted to run for office when she was pregnant with their third child. She then worked as his legislative aide for a decade, an experience she credited with providing a valuable education in politics.[2]

Political career[edit]

Karen ran for John's seat in the House in 1998, when he was forced out of office by newly enacted (and short-lived) term limits.[2] He went on to serve in the Oregon State Senate.

Minnis served her fifth term in the House, during the 2007–2008 sessions. She represented District 49, which included the cities of Fairview, Troutdale, and Wood Village, and a portion of Gresham, in east Multnomah County. She served as Speaker during the 2003 and 2005 legislative sessions and the 2006 Special Session.

Minnis was first elected to the House in 1998 and served as House majority leader from 2001 to 2003. Her 2004 and 2006 bids for reelection drew a strong challenge from Democrat Rob Brading. In 2004, Brading spent only $33,000 to Minnis' $200,000, but came within seven percentage points of winning the race; in 2006, total spending by both candidates approached $1 million, in one of the most expensive House races in Oregon history.[3] In the 2006 election, Democrats took control of the House.[4] After the election, Minnis stated she would not seek any leadership positions, but would instead focus on representing her district.[5]

On the last day of the 2007 legislative session, Minnis announced that she would not seek re-election.[6] She was succeeded in District 49 by Democrat Nick Kahl, who won a closely contested election in November 2008; Democrat Jeff Merkley succeeded her as House Speaker.


  1. ^ "2003 Regular Session (72nd)" (PDF). Oregon Legislators and Staff Guide. Oregon State Archives. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c Prengaman, Peter (June 29, 2003). "Minnis duo stands apart in Oregon Legislature". The Register-Guard. 
  3. ^ Har, Janie (October 18, 2006). "Speaker, foe spending big bucks". The Oregonian. 
  4. ^ Oregon Secretary of State – Unofficial 2006 General Election Results
  5. ^ Har, Janie (November 9, 2006). "Minnis says she won't pursue role of leader". The Oregonian. 
  6. ^ Esteve, Harry and Edward Walsh (June 29, 2007). "Walker announces bid for secretary of state". The Oregonian. 

External links[edit]