Carmichael was elected to the Lunenburg County District School Board in 1988 and became its chair in 1990, serving until 1991 when she moved to Halifax. In 1994 she ran and was elected Alderman for Ward 2 - Halifax South End, but lost the seat in 1995 after the formation of Halifax Regional Municipality.
In September 2001, Carmichael was recognized by the Halifax Chamber of Commerce for her contributions to Halifax's downtown with their Special Award for Community Contribution.
After being diagnosed with leukemia in 1999, Carmichael was featured in a number of articles and news stories. Though she was only given three months to live in 1999, she remained active and was very public with her illness and her struggle with the cancer and didn't shy away from talking about dying. Carmichael died on October 17, 2001.
Posthumously, Carmichael was awarded a Doctorate of Fine Arts (honoris causa) from The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in December 2001. She was also recognized by the Downtown Halifax Business Commission who have named a series of lectures on urban planning The Carmichael Lecture Series. A section of George Street, which runs up the centre of downtown Halifax terminating in a view of the Town Clock, was renamed Carmichael Street in her honour.
- Article: Living With Dying (Lynn Patterson, King's School of Journalism)
- Article: Halifax businesses get tough on graffiti artists (CBC, May 15, 2000
- Article: Special blood donor clinic for a courageous woman (CBC, October 6, 2000)
- News Release: Sorrow and Sympathy on Kate Carmichael's Passing (NS Premier's Office, October 18, 2001)
- Article: Street Fighter (The Coast, April 14, 2005)
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