Skip to Content
The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Senator Karen E. Spilka Democrat - Second Middlesex and Norfolk

Photo of  Karen E. Spilka
Senate Ways and Means Chair
  Karen.Spilka@masenate.gov

State House

24 Beacon St.
Room 212
Boston, MA, 02133
Phone:
617-722-1640
Fax:
617-722-1077

Through hard work, a keen ability to navigate complex issues, and a demonstrated commitment to advocating for her constituents, Senator Karen E. Spilka has established herself as a respected leader in state government. She represents the MetroWest, one of the most important economic regions in Massachusetts.

Due to her experience in social work, law, and disability issues, Senator Spilka was named the first Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities. Senator Spilka was appointed Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies in February 2009, as well as serving on the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Prior to becoming a legislator, Senator Spilka was in private practice as an arbitrator and mediator, specializing in labor and employment law and community and court mediation. In addition, she has been a facilitator and fact finder in disputes in the public and private sectors, as well as a trainer of adult mediation and school-based peer mediation programs, collaborative-based collective bargaining, and conflict resolution strategies. She has also previously worked as a labor and employment attorney on behalf of employees, unions, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), and the Commonwealth.

Senator Spilka has received considerable recognition for her public service, including being named to the National Honor Roll of State Legislators and appointment to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Human Services and Welfare Committee for 2007–2008. Other awards include the 2009 Health Info Management Association’s Legislator of the Year Award, the Massachusetts Hospital Association’s 1st annual Legislator of the Year Award in 2008, the 2007 Legislative Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Association of Jewish Federations, the 2007 Legislator of the Year Award from the Arc of Massachusetts, the 2006 Legislative Leadership Award from the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce, the 2006 Regional Spirit Award from the MetroWest Growth Management Committee, and Advocates, Inc.’s 2006 Medal of Honor.

Personal Information

Profession:

Attorney; Arbitrator/Mediator

Spouse:

Joel Loitherstein

Pets:

3 chocolate labs

Interests:
  • Reading, Gardening, Bicycling

Career Highlights

  • Co-authored a bill that revolutionizes the way the state does business, increasing access to capital for small businesses so they can hire more workers
  • Spearheaded the creation of the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority, increasing mobility for employees, seniors and the disabled in MetroWest
  • Passed Jenny’s Law in memory of a young mother from Ashland, changing the law to make it harder for life insurance companies to deny claims and helping families throughout the Commonwealth
  • Successfully advocated for a provision in the education reform bill that will determine adequacy in quality public school funding

Education & Public Service

  • Cornell University, B.A.
  • Northeastern University School of Law, J.D.
  • Bachelor of Social Work, Cornell University
  • Ashland School Committee (chair, vice-chair)
  • Democratic Town Committee, Fiscal Affairs Committee, Charter Review Committee, Personnel Board
  • Massachusetts House of Representatives, Nov. 2001-2002 (to fill vacancy)
  • Massachusetts State Senate, 2005-present