Biography

Now serving her seventh term, state Rep. Karen Boback, PhD, was elected in 2006 to serve the 117th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Residing in Harveys Lake, Karen is a lifelong resident of Northeastern Pennsylvania and understands the issues facing her district, which consists of the following – all of Wyoming County; in Lackawanna County, the borough of Dalton and the townships of Benton, La Plume and West Abington; and in Luzerne County, the boroughs of Dallas and Harveys Lake and the townships of Dallas, Fairmount, Franklin, Hunlock, Lake, Lehman and Ross.

In the 2019-20 session, Karen is serving as majority chairman of the House Children and Youth Committee. In addition, she is a member of the House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee.

Karen is a long-time advocate for children in the Commonwealth. To that end, she authored Act 94 of 2014 (originally House Bill 1420), which mandated pulse oximetry testing for newborns. This is one of the most effective ways to detect potentially life-threatening heart defects.

Karen holds a bachelor’s degree (BS) from College Misericordia, master’s degrees (MS) from both Marywood University and Misericordia University and a doctorate (PhD) from the University of Pennsylvania. She taught in the Tunkhannock Area School District for 33 years and served as an adjunct professor at Wilkes University and Misericordia University. She has developed and helps implement a leadership program offered in schools in her legislative district and was chosen by East Stroudsburg University as the 2016 Legislative Fellow.

Karen has been recognized on several occasions for her impact on education. She was nominated to represent her school district in the 1994 edition of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers and the 1988 edition of Who’s Who in American Education. Karen was presented the Excellence in Education Award by College Misericordia in 2006.

Karen’s goal is to be accessible, approachable and attentive to the concerns of the citizens of her district. She is a well- known advocate for the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens; educational issues; veterans affairs and the environment. She is a founding member of the Luzerne/Wyoming Counties Elder Abuse Task Force and a legislative appointee on the Gino Merli Veterans Center Board of Directors.

In addition to her educational accolades, Karen was named Harveys Lake Citizen of the Year in 2006; “Best of the Back Mountain – Elected Official 2008 and 2009;” the 2008 Session “Best of Breed” Legislator Award from the Pennsylvania Federation of Dog Clubs; the 2009 Mother Mary Catharine McGann Alumni Achievement Award from Misericordia University; the Tunkhannock Business and Professional Women’s Club Woman of the Year Award 2009; the District 8 Business and Professional Women’s Club Woman of the Year Award 2010; has been named in the 2009 edition of Who’s Who in American Politics; and received the NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business) 2012 Guardian of Small Business Award. She is the 2017 recipient of the Dr. Kay F. Thompson Outstanding Legislator Award (PA Dental Association), and the Distinguished Service Award from Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association and University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

As someone who highly regards community involvement, Karen participates in the following organizations:

• The Greater Federation of Women’s Club – Harveys Lake
• Dallas Rotary
• Dallas Kiwanis
• Harveys Lake Lion’s Club
• Tunkhannock Business and Professional Women’s Club
• Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce
• Back Mountain Chamber of Commerce
• The Federation of Sportsmen’s’ Clubs
• Factoryville Sportsmen’s Club
• Harveys Lake Rod and Gun Club
• Noxen Sportsmen’s Club
• Wyoming/Lackawanna Counties Farm Bureau
• The Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen’sCaucus
• Women of the Moose – Tunkhannock Chapter
• Blue Star Mothers of NEPA – Auxiliary

Karen is past president of the Back Mountain Memorial Library board of directors, past president GFWC-Harveys Lake and past president Dallas Women of Rotary. She served on the board of directors of Harveys Lake Protective Association and the Junior League of Wilkes-Barre. She is an auxiliary member of the American Legion in Harveys Lake, and an active member of her church, Our Lady of Victory, where she is a lector and minister of the Eucharist.

Karen and her husband, Bernard, have two children and 2 grandchildren.

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