Karen Keith grew up in Muskogee where she was active in 4-H and graduated from Muskogee High School in 1972. She put herself through college with scholarships and a variety of jobs and graduated 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 named a "Distinguished Alumni honoree" and then 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 currently serving her 4th four-year term. Active in civic affairs, Keith served in 2013-2014 as the 100th president of the Rotary Club of Tulsa, and as the Governor's appointee to the Oklahoma Historical Society from 2010-2022. She currently serves on the Will Rogers Memorial Foundation, the OKPOP Foundation and the Tulsa Arvest Board of Directors. Since April 2018, Karen has also been the Chair of INCOG and has served on the National Association of Regional Councils. She is a member of Leadership Oklahoma Class XX, the Oklahoma Academy and the Chambers of Commerce in Tulsa, Jenks, Sand Springs and Southwest Tulsa. She has also been involved in the Brookside Business Association for many years. Keith was also a leading voice for the new Family Center for Juvenile Justice, which opened in December 2019. Keith will serve on the Oklahoma Hall of Fame board starting in 2023.
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.
In partnership with the Turnpike Authority, ODOT, City of Tulsa, INCOG, federal government and Tulsa County, work on the Gilcrease Expressway is well underway with a summer or fall 2022 opening scheduled.
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.