KAREN CARTER PETERSON
LOUISIANA STATE SENATOR and CHAIRWOMAN OF THE LOUISIANA DEMOCRATIC PARTY
Senator Karen Carter Peterson represents New Orleans and parts of Jefferson Parish in the Louisiana State Senate. She is immediate past Chair of the Louisiana Women’s Caucus and the current chair of the Senate Select Committee on Women and Children. She also serves on the Senate Judiciary B, Insurance and Local and Municipal Committees.
In 2012, she won the Chair position of the Louisiana Democratic Party, the first woman in Louisiana history to do so. Sen. Peterson currently serves as Vice-President of the Association of Democratic Party Chairs.
Over her 13 years of service, Sen. Peterson has been recognized by many organizations and publications for her work, including being awarded the Legislator of the Year Award by the Alliance for Good Government three times, in 2012, 2004 and 2000. Sen. Peterson has also been honored with the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government’s New Frontier Award and the Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowship in Public Service. In recent years, she has also been recognized as one of New Orleans City Business Women of the Year. In 2013, New Orleanians voted Peterson the Best New Orleans Legislator in the Gambit’s annual “Best Of New Orleans” Awards.
In 2011, the NewDEAL, a leadership group founded by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Alaska U.S. Senator Mark Begich, recognized Senator Peterson as an emerging pro-growth progressive leader. She was also presented with the Louisiana Association of Justice Public Service Award in 2011. In 2012, Sen. Peterson was awarded the International Association of Human Rights Agencies President’s award for outstanding service in the advancement of human and civil rights. Peterson was also the recipient of the 2012 Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana’s Justice for Youth Award. During Louisiana’s 200th anniversary of statehood in 2012, Peterson served as a commissioner on the Louisiana Bicentennial Commission. In 2013, the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents named her Legislator of the year, and the Children’s Defense Fund honored her for her leadership on protecting Louisiana’s children.
During her time in the Louisiana House of Representatives, Peterson established herself as a powerful, worthy asset to the legislature, serving on the House Appropriations Committee, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the House Governmental Affairs Committee, and finally, as House Speaker Pro Tempore, the second highest position in the House. While in the House, she was also the first woman to chair the House Insurance Committee.
Sen. Peterson is a 1991 graduate of Howard University School of Business, where she received a degree in International Business and Marketing, and of Tulane University Law School, where she was afforded the opportunity to attend both Boston College Law School and the University of Virginia’s Law School as a visiting student.
Sen. Peterson has many present and past professional and civic activities on her resume. She has been a board member and volunteer for a wide variety of organizations. Beginning at the age of 18 through the year 2012, she served as a delegate to Democratic National Conventions. She and her husband Dana are members of Blessed Trinity Catholic Church and live in downtown New Orleans.