Karen E. Spilka Senate Ways and Means Chair

D Ashland
Karen E. Spilka


State House
Room 212
Boston, MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-1640
Fax: 617-722-1077
Email: Karen.Spilka@masenate.gov
Bill Docket Bill Title
HD46 Relative to school improvement plans
HD56 For legislation to allow for the establishment of "public internet discussion," to allow members of a public body to discuss matters before it without going through the requirements of the open meeting law
HD270 Relative to business practices between motor vehicle manufacturers, distributors and dealers
SD307 For legislation to establish civil and criminal penalties for the female genital mutilation of minors.
HD369 An Act establishing the genetic engineering transparency food and seed labeling act
HD469 Relative to Lyme disease treatment health insurance coverage
SD1094 For legislation relative to Huntington's Disease
SD1423 For legislation to establish pay equity.
HD1460 For legislation to establish the building code coordinating council
HD1765 Relative to penalties for the crime of female genital mutilation
HD1988 For the adoption of resolutions memorializing the Congress of the United States to convene a Constitutional Convention to consider amendments to the Constitution to limit the influence of money in our political system
HD3533 For legislation to establish an innovative communities program within the Executive Office for Administration and Finance
HD3661 An Act to amend Section 7, Chapter 143 of the Acts of 1949, an act establishing in the Town of Framingham Representative Town Government by Limited Town Meeting

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
Second Middlesex and Norfolk -- Consisting of the towns of Ashland, Framingham, Holliston, Hopkinton and Natick, precincts 1 to 5, inclusive, and 8, in the county of Middlesex; and the towns of Franklin, precincts 5, 6, and 8, and Medway in the county of Norfolk.