Campaign links: Karen Bowerman (R-OR-5)
Karen Bowerman Congressional Candidate Oregon District 5
Biography of Karen Bowerman from Karen Bowerman for U.S. Congress
Karen was a native Kansas girl—born and raised in Topeka by a devoted single mother who valued education and hard work for her daughter. Her mom imparted a “can-do” attitude, emphasizing the power of choice that we have as individuals to lead a principled life. After high school classes, for three years Karen worked at Kansas Farmer Magazine and maintained an active extracurricular life as an AFS exchange student to Turkey and officer in several clubs such as debate, French and 4-H.
At a young age, early work experiences developed her commitment to public office when circumstances allowed. As an undergraduate at Wichita State University, she interned with her major professor who was Education Assistant to the Governor of Kansas, writing position papers for the Governor. She later held a summer position in Washington D.C. in the speech-writing department of then-Department of Health, Education & Welfare. While completing her doctorate at Texas A&M, she first worked on campus in Student Development but soon joined the staff of the Governor of Texas starting up a new agency in his office, the Texas Commission on the Status of Women, leading a focus on work for children within the cycle of family violence.
After completing the Ph.D. at Texas A&M University, where she was named the most Outstanding Graduate Student for Academics, Research and Service, Karen and her husband Earl joined the California State University system. Earl was professor of agriculture with emphasis on tree fruits, and Karen began as professor of business management. She dedicated a 32 year career in higher education within the California State University system, serving a multi-cultural student population; the university mission was a fit with Karen’s professional goals –economic development (video link) and educating both managers and prospective entrepreneurs. She received multiple recognitions as Outstanding Professor for Classroom Excellence, originator of a Family Business Institute and chair for international reaccreditation of the college she served.
In 2004 she began service as Dean of the College of Business and Public Administration at California State University, San Bernardino and ultimately led the college to being named by European CEO Magazine as one of the top 18 most innovative colleges of business in the world (video link) in part because of expertise on applied learning with the business community with a robust international component in the MBA program. Within the college of over 3500 business students and 200 faculty, staff and adjuncts were programs especially outstanding in transportation, IT program mapped to curriculum of our nation’s security and defense agencies, entrepreneurship and volunteer income tax preparation for low income residents of the region served. Karen developed a fiscally conservative, yet extraordinarily innovative budget in difficult economic times in order to expand the student and faculty experience. Years of administrative work has honed her ability to transcend ideological and party lines to design real solutions to today’s challenges.
With her husband of 34 years, Earl, they were eager to make their home (built circa 1915) in Oregon based on factors that have always been important to them, including appreciation of support for local business and regionally-grown foods, walkability, joy from the great outdoors with fresh air and lack of smog or pollution, and a love of the arts and diverse cultures. Three of their four adult children were in Oregon, although one had to move for a job out-of-state (a problem that affects too many Oregon families). The Civil War, the annual football rivalry begun in 1894, is an annual household event with one daughter from U of O and another having graduated from OSU!
Karen is spokesperson for Oregon’s Death Tax Phase-Out, an initiative for the November 2012 ballot; read more about it here. She is a in NW Oregon volunteer for counseling small business start-ups and established companies for growth, active in Clackamas County Republican Party and serves on the 50+ Advisory Committee of Lake Oswego.