Karen Keith grew up in Muskogee where she was active in 4-H and graduated Muskogee High School in 1972. She put herself through college with scholarships and a variety of jobs, graduating in 1976 from Oklahoma State University with a degree in Radio, TV-News and Public Affairs.
Karen and her husband, Patrick Malloy, a Tulsa attorney, are fortunate to share their lives with Gulnara Taragachova, who was a foreign exchange student from Baku, Azerbaijan. Gulnara attended one year of high school in Tulsa followed by Tulsa Community College where she was later named a "Distinguished Alumni honoree." Gulnara graduated OSU-Tulsa with a degree in international business. Gulnara now lives in the Netherlands with her daughter Samaya and works for Shawcor.
Karen has been serving as Tulsa County Commissioner for District 2 since 2008 and is serving her 4th four-year term. She currently serves on the Oklahoma Historical Society Executive Board, the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Board of Directors, the OKPOP Foundation, and the Tulsa Arvest Board of Directors. Since April 2018, Karen has also been the Chair of INCOG and serves on the National Association of Regional Councils. Active in civic affairs, Keith served in 2013-2014 as the 100th president of the Rotary Club of Tulsa. She is a member of Leadership Oklahoma Class XX, the Oklahoma Academy, and the Chambers of Commerce in Tulsa, Jenks and Sand Springs. She has also been involved in the Brookside Business Association for many years. Keith lead the campaign to fund the new Family Center for Juvenile Justice, which opened in December 2019.
Prior to her public service work, Karen spent 26 years in broadcasting with 21 years at KJRH as an anchor, reporter and executive producer, and host of "Oklahoma Living." She is proudest of her work on documentaries that took her to Vietnam, Israel, Germany, Russia and Mexico. In 2002, Karen became Director of Community Relations and Vision implementation for Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune. Serving as part of the team focused on successful passage of Vision 2025, she helped form the Vision Arena and Convention Center Design Committee and the Vision 2025 Downtown Housing Fund Committee. Following her service at City Hall, Keith worked for the Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce as the Director of Partnership Development for the Tulsa Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Accomplishments & Areas of Focus
After years of advocating for funds to fix the levee, the federal government allocated $137.4 million to the Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild the antiquated structures. The pre-engineering and design phase is underway and work could begin as early as spring 2023.
The Tulsa County Commissioners allotted $2.7 million from the American Rescue Plan to phase out the sewage lagoons at Berryhill Public Schools and lay lines to the Sand Springs treatment facility. This is a partnership with Tulsa County, Sand Springs, a private property owner and the school district.
Within District 2, Karen’s additional focus is on several key areas including:
- Cleaning up unincorporated neighborhoods and tackling legislation for greater abatement authority.
- Homelessness and justice reform.
- Design and location identification of a new building for the OSU Extension.
- Rehabilitating Tulsa County’s roads and bridges and working to fund and build a new highway maintenance barn for District 2.
- Continuing the implementation of the Chandler Park Plan.
- Received the Clydella Hentschel Women in Leadership Award from Tulsa Area United Way 2023
- Received the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Tourism Partner of the Year Award 2023
- Co-Recipient of the Association of Fund-Raising Professionals 2022
- International Downtown Association Inspired Leader Award 2022
- Tulsa Community College Foundation Vision in Education Leadership 2019
- Oklahoma Floodplain Managers Association Public Official of the Year 2019
- Tulsan of the Year by Tulsa World Magazine 2019
- State of Oklahoma Bar Association Liberty Bell 2019
- Tulsa County Bar Association Liberty Bell 2019
- The Journal Record Woman of the Year Honoree 2010
- Governor’s Judicial Nominating Committee 2008
- American Women in Radio in Tulsa Best of Broadcast Television Broadcasting 2001
- Karen Keith's Success Stories - Journal Record Publishing Advocate of the Year 1994
- Outstanding Individual in Television - National Honor by American Women in Radio and TV Star Award 1994
- United States Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees). “Ten Outstanding Young Americans” 1993
- Association of Women in Communications Newsmaker Award 1992
- American Heart Association Meritorious Service in the Fight Against Heart Disease 1992
- OSU Distinguished Alumnus 1991
- Outstanding 4-H Alumnae Award 1990
- Oklahoma Jaycees “Five Outstanding Young Oklahomans” 1990
- Tulsa Chapter of American Women in Radio and Television Outstanding Television Personality-Reporter of the Year 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1999
- Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters Outstanding Achievement - Large Market TV Newscast 1984
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