About Me

My background

New to Sammamish politics, I'm a mom with two great kids and a fabulous (and supportive!) husband, Phil. We've lived here for 25 years and have a deep connection to the community.

BUSINESS SKILLS: In my professional life I'm known as an innovative marketing and business development pro with a track record of forging effective partnerships and instilling tight operational and fiscal controls.

I've been a director within Microsoft Research, a VP at AOL, and CEO of a search engine company. Now I'm a member of the gig-economy, successfully consulting for 4+ years. 

My various leadership roles have given me full profit & loss experience and the ability to build consensus between disparate groups.

I'm excited to be a first-time Sammamish Candidate.   

My top issues

  • Growth management
  • Canopy preservation
  • Sustainability
  • Funded infrastructure
  • Balanced budget
  • Sidewalks & trails
  • Stormwater management 
  • Social services access
  • Affordable housing options
  • Parks & Rec
  • Resident communications

It's easy to come up with concerns and far more challenging to find constructive ways to move forward. 

More than half of the world's population now live in cities according to the UN. Managing growth while preserving quality of life isn't just our problem, it's everyone's. 

That's why we must network with sister city colleagues to pull together well-researched and practical solutions to our common problems. 

We live in a beautiful, prosperous, desirable city. Let's maintain much of the excellent work-in-process, and press ahead with focused  initiatives to ensure Sammamish stays the kind of city we want to come home to.

My civic engagement

I'm an elected Precinct Committee Officer (SAM 45-3217).  I help lead the Sammamish Huddle, an action-based network of like-minded people supporting progressive values. I'm proud to be a CASA, a court-appointed special advocate for foster kids. 

I was VP of Ways and Means for our local PTSA, volunteered as an Art Start teacher, and was an active, frequent volunteer at Inglewood Middle School and Eastlake High School. I was on the board and assistant coach for  Eastside Girls Lacrosse. I've served as a Literacy volunteer and taught women's self-defense courses. I earned my fundraising chops while serving on the board of Cancer Lifeline. And I'm helping meet the need for more service dogs by advising a new non-profit, Altas Assistance Dogs

I also served on the Deer Park HOA board and represented our neighborhood's pipeline concerns at city council meetings. 

Support Karen Howe

It's time to gear up for the general election. Your $25 - $50 - $100 donation makes a huge difference to my campaign.

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Traffic: Planning for Autonomous Vehicles


While Sammamish uses an Intelligent Traffic System, there are significant advances in next-generation tech on the horizon. My vision of a connected and automated future includes communication between vehicles and infrastructure to take full advantage of technology to reduce congestion. Speed harmonization is only one example of how traffic can be controlled through connectivity to improve mobility. 

Smart Growth

Being smart about growth for Sammamish means slowing it down. We have reached capacity on our roads and are not able to meet residents' expectations. Let's concentrate on maintaining safe streets and implementing rational solutions to help us all get around efficiently. I support the current moratorium but want to make sure we're taking advantage of this opportunity appropriately.

The Growth Management Act provides tools for slowing growth. 

Section 12 of RCW 36.70A.020  "Ensure that those public facilities and services necessary to support development shall be adequate to serve the development at the time the development is available for occupancy and use without decreasing current service levels below locally established minimum standards."

Let's continue concentrating density  near Town Center and use the moratorium to allow us to catch up with a revised traffic concurrency policy and traffic modeling program. Let's rework our Land Use Plan to include tighter controls to protect our trees and environment. 



  • Washington Conservation Voters
  • Planned Parenthood Votes WA
  • Washington Bikes
  • Equal Rights Washington
  • National Women's Political Caucus
  • Issaquah-Sammamish Reporter Endorsement
  • 45th, 5th, 41st Legislative District Democrats
  • King County Young Democrats
  • Lake Washington School Board Director Mark Stuart
  • State Representative Roger Goodman
  • Former Sammamish Mayors & City Council Members Tom Vance & Mark Cross
  • State Representative Judy Clibborn
  • Kathy Huckabay, Sammamish City Council Member
  • Tom Odell, Sammamish City Council Member
  • International Union of Painters and Allied Trades

Canopy vs. Clear Cuts

In addition to implementing the Urban Forestry Plan, we need to: #1 Enforce tree retention policy. #2 Fund and proceed with the proposed parks land acquisition plan. #3 Enforce tree buffer zones. #4 Communicate exactly how city ordinances are applied and update any loosely written codes to reflect intent of the community.

Toronto has put in place a very detailed Tree Protection Policy and Specifications for Construction Near Trees ordinance. It is very specific and comprehensive. For example, developers must put up protective walls to keep construction equipment away from compacting soil in the tree root zone and other inadvertent damage.  Fines for non-compliance can go up to $100K and beyond. Developers must work with city-approved arborists to prune branches or roots. For more information, see 


More Public Transit Options

I'm a big believer in public transit. The city has to do a better job providing residents, youth, seniors, and riders with disabilities greater and more frequent access.  

What would help right now is a community shuttle able to take residents safely from A to B on a regular schedule.

Mercer Island is contemplating an "on demand" shuttle service. Companies such as Uber and Lift are expanding their business models to include this type of transport for cities like ours. 

Sound Transit owes us Sammamish a Park and Ride. Let's make sure we get that sited as soon as possible and in the right location. 

Raising Revenue without Raising Property Taxes

  • Increase government grants and partnerships
  • Increase services fees
  • Increase fees for development permits 
  • Increase rent & usage fees on City-owned properties (for non-residents)
  • Increase road and other impact fees collected prior to construction 
  • Increase fines for unapproved tree removal or other infractions
  • Create an Empty Homes tax