Karen S. Montgomery

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Karen S. Montgomery
Karen S. Montgomery (2008).jpg
Member of the Maryland Senate
from the 14th district
In office
January 12, 2011 – January 1, 2016
Preceded by Rona E. Kramer
Succeeded by Craig Zucker
Personal details
Born (1935-08-23) August 23, 1935 (age 83)
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Harry
Residence Brookeville, Maryland
Occupation Art Professor

Karen Slater Montgomery (born August 23, 1935) is an American politician and artist from the state of Maryland. A Democrat, she served as the state senator for the Maryland State Senate from Maryland's 14th District, which includes parts of Silver Spring, Burtonsville, Olney, Barnesville, Brookeville, Laytonsville, and Damascus in Montgomery County in the Washington, D.C. suburbs. She was elected in 2010 and reelected in 2014. From 2002 to 2010 she served as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates. She resigned from her senate position on January 1, 2016 because of vision problems that limited her ability to drive at night.

Education and professional life[edit]

Montgomery earned her undergraduate degree from Towson University and later a Master of Fine Arts degree from the George Washington University. She would serve as a part-time faculty member in the Fine Arts Department at George Washington University until 1987, also working at the Art Barn and the National Building Museum. In 1987, Montgomery switched careers to work in the non-profit sector for a number of organizations including the Olney Theatre Center, Arts for the Aging, and the Arthritis Foundation, from which she retired in 1999. Both prior to and since her election to public office, Montgomery has volunteered with a variety of community organizations related to the arts, women's issues, and people with developmental disabilities.[1]

She is married and has three grown children.[1] One of her children has autism, which has driven Montgomery's involvement in community organizations that serve people with developmental disabilities, and her political advocacy related to the issue.[2]

Political career[edit]

In 2000, the reapportionment of Maryland state legislative districts following the United States Census led to the creation of a new district in Montgomery County, Maryland, called District 14. Montgomery was one of twelve candidates in the Democratic primary election for the district's three house seats. She finished in second place and won the general election for the seat as well.[3]

During her first term, Montgomery served on the Environmental Matters Committee, and served on a commission on sustainable forestry appointed by the Governor. Following her re-election in 2006, she moved to the Health and Government Operations Committee. There, she has worked on a number of issues related to health care, including funding for the Developmental Disabilities Administration, support for veterans with behavioral health needs, and shortages in the state's health care workforce. She has also served in leadership positions in the Women Legislators of Maryland, the caucus of female legislators in the General Assembly.[1]

Inspired by her son who has autism, Montgomery has been an advocate for better services for people with developmental disabilities. She has argued for better access to early intervention service for young children with autism.[2] In 2009, Montgomery worked to limit state budget cuts to mental health programs and services to people with developmental disabilities. These programs were under threat due to a budget deficit in the state related to the late 2000s recession.[4]

In addition to her work on behalf of people with developmental disabilities, Montgomery has been active on health care, good government, and environmental issues. She has been the lead sponsor of a bill that would create a single payer universal health care system in the state of Maryland.[5] In 2008, she introduced a bill giving certain property owners the right to install solar panels despite historic designations on their properties.[6] Montgomery also worked to ensure that touch screen voting machines had a voter-verifiable paper record for use in recounts.[7]

In the 2010 elections, Montgomery challenged incumbent Senator Rona E. Kramer in the Democratic primary and defeated her by less than 200 votes.[8] Herman L. Taylor, Jr. also left the House of Delegates that year, leaving two Delegate seats open in District 14. Craig Zucker and Eric Luedtke won the two open House of Delegates seats in November 2010. In early 2016, Zucker was appointed to the District 14 senate office, replacing Montgomery after she resigned on January 1, 2016.


  1. ^ a b c "Karen S. Montgomery". Maryland Manual Online. Maryland State Archives. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
  2. ^ a b "About Autism: Public Policy". Pathfinders for Autism. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
  3. ^ "County Wide Results". Montgomery County Board of Elections. Archived from the original on 2011-04-04. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
  4. ^ "State Delegate Karen Montgomery and Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg Warn Maryland Budget Plan Could Be Devastating to Essential Services". Montgomery County Council. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
  5. ^ Hersh, Mike. "Delegates Working on Health Care Issues in Maryland". Health Care Maryland. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
  6. ^ Behsudi, Adam (2008-02-19). "How to go green in the historic district". Frederick News-Post. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
  7. ^ Tracy, Stephanie. "Md. Lawmakers Look at Plugging Touch-Screen Security With Paper Ballots". WTOP News. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
  8. ^ Pagnucco, Adam. "Karen Montgomery Declares Victory". Maryland Politics Watch. Retrieved 2010-10-13.