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
SD307 For legislation to establish civil and criminal penalties for the female genital mutilation of minors.
SD1094 For legislation relative to Huntington's Disease
SD1423 For legislation to establish pay equity.
H.222 HD270 By Mr. Linsky of Natick, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 222) of David Paul Linsky and others relative to business practices between motor vehicle manufacturers, distributors and dealers. Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.
H.391 HD46 By Mrs. Haddad of Somerset, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 391) of Patricia A. Haddad and others relative to school improvement plans. Education.
H.901 HD469 By Mr. Linsky of Natick, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 901) of David Paul Linsky and others relative to Lyme disease treatment health insurance coverage. Financial Services.
H.1530 HD1765 By Representative Peake of Provincetown and Senator Brownsberger, a joint petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 1530) of Sarah K. Peake and others relative to penalties for the crime of female genital mutilation. The Judiciary.
H.2196 HD1460 By Mr. Walsh of Framingham, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 2196) of Chris Walsh and others for legislation to establish the building code coordinating council. Public Safety and Homeland Security.
H.2737 HD3533 By Ms. Ferrante of Gloucester, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 2737) of Ann-Margaret Ferrante, Karen E. Spilka and Carmine L. Gentile for legislation to establish an innovative communities program within the Executive Office for Administration and Finance. State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.
H.2816 HD56 By Mr. Sannicandro of Ashland, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 2816) of Tom Sannicandro and others for legislation to amend the Open Meeting Law by defining a 'Public Internet Discussion' and setting requirements for members of a public body to discuss matters before it in a 'Public Internet Discussion'. State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.
H.3127 HD1988 By Representative Atkins of Concord and Senator Eldridge, a joint petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 3127) of Cory Atkins, James B. Eldridge and others 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. Veterans and Federal Affairs.
H.3195 HD3661 By Mr. Walsh of Framingham, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 3195) of Chris Walsh and others (by vote of the town) relative to representative town meetings in the town of Framingham. Municipalities and Regional Government. [Local Approval Received.]
H.3242 HD369 By Representatives Story of Amherst and Smola of Warren, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 3242) of Ellen Story and others relative to the labeling of genetically engineered food. Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.

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.