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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Senator Karen E. Spilka Democrat - Second Middlesex and Norfolk

Photo of  Karen E. Spilka
President of the Senate
  Karen.Spilka@masenate.gov

State House

24 Beacon St.
Room 332
Boston, MA, 02133
Phone:
617-722-1500
Fax:
617-722-1077

Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland) represents the MetroWest communities of Ashland, Framingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopkinton and Medway, which comprise the 2nd Middlesex & Norfolk district.

Before ascending the presidency, she served as the Chair of the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Ways & Means beginning in January 2015.  Prior to that, she served as the Senate Majority Whip (2013-2015), Assistant Majority Whip (2012-2013), Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies (2009-2012), and Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities (2005-2009), a committee she helped originate.  She began her legislative career as a State Representative for the Seventh Middlesex district in 2001.

Prior to becoming a legislator, Senate President 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.

Senate President Spilka is a graduate of Northeastern Law School and holds a B.S. in Social Work from Cornell University. She has been married for over twenty years to Joel S. Loitherstein, an environmental engineer, and has one adult step-daughter two adult sons —Heather, Scott and Jake — and a rescue dog named Lincoln.

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‚Äôs 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