“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
- Nelson Mandela
Karen Houck has spent her life living by that model and is now running to be our next State Representative so she can continue to make a positive difference for the people that live, work, raise their families and retire in our community, and give all of us a strong voice in Harrisburg.
Karen has actively served our community for decades, building a career’s worth of volunteer experience, public service and know-how to tackle the challenges we face and solve complex problems. A wife, mother, businesswoman and former school board director, she knows how to balance a budget, understands how increasing taxes affect us all, and has the background and training we can trust to make a difference for us in Harrisburg.
Already a passionate volunteer working on economic development and job creation, Karen is committed to driving the PA Turnpike Commission, PennDOT and SEPTA to keep their promises to address our traffic problems and improve our infrastructure. Karen is also a proven and powerful advocate for quality education that prepares children for success while respecting taxpayers and homeowners
After graduating college, Karen put her Marketing and Finance degrees to work in the financial planning and mortgage-lending fields before becoming a full-time mother. She worked as the in-house loan officer in a local real estate office, as well as managing the Philadelphia office of a national mortgage company – real financial experience taxpayers can trust to look after their money.
Leaving the workplace to become a full-time mom, Karen served as a Girl Scout Troop Leader while volunteering in the Upper Moreland school libraries. Her volunteer experience and knowledge grew with her service – including serving six years as a Trustee at the Upper Moreland Free Public Library (four years as Board President); with the Willow Grove Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; the Willow Grove 300 Tri-Centennial Steering Committee; the Willow Grove YMCA Capital Campaign; the Upper Moreland Educational Association; and more.
Today, Karen continues her volunteer serves as Chair of the Upper Moreland Revitalization Task Force, appointed by the bipartisan Board of Commissioners in 2010, helping to bring commonsense economic development that builds the community tax base without putting further burden on local homeowners and residents.
Karen’s belief that we can preserve and protect our unique community comes from hosting a decade’s worth of public meetings, hearing what people care about, collecting ideas and formulating working strategies – and will translate into a laser focus on the priorities of our community as State Representative.
Encouraged to run for office by those impressed by her commitment to service and effectiveness as a community volunteer, Karen ran for and won a position on the Upper Moreland School Board serving from 2016 to 2019. She was proud to be endorsed by both the local Republican and Democratic committees in her run, a rarity in politics today.
Throughout her volunteer and public service, Karen has found the best way to get things done for the benefit of our community is to work together – regardless of political party – to find solutions to the challenges we face. That’s why, on the school board, she worked closely with residents, community groups, and other stakeholders to gather public opinion and listen to diverse points of view – characteristics that we need now more than ever in government.
Karen is also a 2015 graduate of Penn State’s leadership fellowship program for Rural and Urban Leadership (RULE). The RULE program is an extensive immersion program in local, state and federal government with classes across the Commonwealth and in Washington, DC – often with legislators, senior staff, cabinet members and senior policy makers. The knowledge gained through RULE, along with her past experiences, means Karen will hit the ground running as our representative.
Karen married Charlie Houck in 1997 and together they bought from her father the house in Willow Grove in which she grew up, working to maintain and expand the gardens there ever since. Their daughter is currently a freshman in college. Karen is a graduate of the former Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science (now part of Jefferson University.)
As the daughter of a stay-at-home mom and a dad who was a mechanical engineer and Air Force Captain who flew the B-24 “Liberator” in WWII and Korea, Karen is part of a “Navy family” with her stepdaughter and son-in-law stationed in Charleston. Karen also has a grown stepson in Connecticut.