Now serving her eighth 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 2021-22 session, Karen is serving as majority chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Services Committee. In addition, she is a member of the House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee and serves on the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Council.

Karen is a long-time advocate for Pennsylvania’s children. To that end, she has been the prime sponsor of several new laws aimed at protecting their health and welfare, including:

Act 94 of 2014 (originally House Bill 1420) mandated pulse oximetry testing for newborns to detect potentially life-threatening heart defects. 

Act 5 of 2019 (originally House Bill 279) provides civil immunity for necessary use of force when rescuing a child, or older person, from a motor vehicle.

Act 14 of 2019 (originally House Bill 856) reinstated the extension of permanent legal custodian and adoption assistance subsidies to young adults ages 18-21. 

Act 20 of 2021 (originally House Bill 464) updated and expanded the Family Caregiver Support Program which provides relief for caregivers of older adults, individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, grandchildren being raised by grandparents, and adults with a nondementia-related disability. 

Act 69 of 2022 (House Bill 1867) created the Purple Star School Program within the Pennsylvania Department of Education to designate schools as Purple Star Schools if they meet requirements related to supporting students from military families.

Other state laws sponsored by Boback during her legislative career include:
Act 19 of 2011 (originally House Bill 385) adopted the Honor and Remember Flag as Pennsylvania’s emblem of service and sacrifice of the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who have given their lives in the line of duty.

Act 159 of 2014 (originally House Bill 1440) consolidated five existing business financing programs into the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority to streamline the loan application process and create a “one-stop shop” for businesses.

Act 146 of 2016 (originally House Bill 2241) provides that an insurer may only retroactively deny reimbursement to a health care provider within 24 months after the date the insurer paid the health care provider with limited exceptions.

Act 35 of 2018 (originally House Bill 564) requires students to take a locally developed assessment in civics between grades 7-12 to ensure they have at least a basic knowledge and understanding of civics and government.

Act 18 of 2021 (originally House Bill 832) designated a bridge along PA Route 92 over the Susquehanna River in Falls Township, Wyoming County, as the Falls Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Act 23 of 2022 (originally House Bill 2068) designated a portion of U.S. Route 11 in Shickshinny, Luzerne County, as “The Honorable George C. Hasay Memorial Highway.”

Act 23 of 2022 (originally House Bill 1385) designated a portion of State Route 4010 in North Branch Township, Wyoming County, as “The Joyce Maureen Steele Memorial Highway.”

Act 26 of 2022 (originally House Bill 2496) granted the transfer of the former Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture building and storage garage in Tunkhannock Township to Wyoming County. 

Act 65 of 2022 (House Bill 1598) transferred the administration of the Flood Plain Management Program from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.
 
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. Rep. Boback serves as the Secretary on the Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus. She is currently serving her third term on the Pennsylvania Commission for Women, by appointment from Gov. Wolf. She also sits on the board of the Juvenile Justice Institute at Keystone College. Rep. Boback has also been appointed to serve as a member of the Children’s Trust Fund Board.

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
• 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.