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  • Lifelong resident of Edmore, MI

  • Graduate of Montabella Community Schools

  • Graduate of Central Michigan University

  • Elected as Trustee to Home Township Library Board

  • 34 years in public education

  • Active union member and district negotiator

  • MEA UniServ Unified Bargaining Council member

I have been a life-long resident of Montcalm County, choosing to return home after graduating from CMU. My husband, Richard, and I raised our family on part of the old family farm in Edmore. We now have three grown children, a daughter-in-law and three active grandsons. We are winter enthusiasts who enjoy dog sledding, winter sports, and being outside. Like many families, we are on the go in support of one another’s activities and in the care of our parents or grandkids. We love going up north during the summer, but are always glad to come back home. 

My decision to enter the race comes from my concern about the continued deterioration of our communities. Like you, I see that small family businesses and farms are struggling or closing. Our schools are wrestling with providing quality education for all students with inadequate funding. We wonder about our tap water and the quality and protection of our water sources. We are concerned for our returning veterans, who may need more assistance in transition to civilian life.

These are not partisan issues—yet in Lansing that is how it appears. I’m a “gotta see it, show me where the money goes” type of person. I don’t want my tax dollars wasted or yours. When elected, I will keep rural issues in the spotlight and reach across the aisle to negotiate common sense solutions. I can make you one promise… I will treat your concerns like mine…because they are mine.

With your help, I will go from the school house to the state house to do the work for the people of the 70th District.    


A New Normal

Education: school quality and funding, community literacy, work skills

Health and Welfare:  hospital and clinic services, elder care, mental health services

Farmers and Small Business Owners:  farmers, agri-business, communications, local markets
Vulnerable Populations:  transition support, health and mental health care, employment

Working from Home


Every area of rural life is impacted by the pandemic. Children are not in physical school settings, so an adult is needed in homes to tend to the children and function as an assistant teacher. Nursing homes are beset with worry and isolation, if not dealing directly with the virus among patients or staff. The economy has tanked, creating nightmares for small business owners, a major reduction in factory and farm production, as well as worries about the availability of healthy workers. The stress on families to find food resources, to keep young children busy and our elderly safe, is taking a huge emotional toll. It doesn’t help that we live in areas with less than robust broadband and technological resources.

The strength we have, have always had in rural Michigan, is in the strong backbones of our communities. We pull together in times of trouble—we must do that now and not allow partisanship to determine who is helped and who is not. Lansing must provide an example of bipartisan problem-solving, by working cooperatively and diligently to meet the needs of multiple economic sectors of our communities.



For the 2020-2021 school year, there are many unknowns. Which districts will be able to open physical schools, which colleges will have in-person classes, which private or parochial schools will require students on campus? How will classes be structured—how many students, how many teachers, what other staff will be necessary? What lessons for educators have been learned during virtual learning—what might be replicated and what did not work? What are the issues of equity—a kindergartener’s needs are far different than those of a high school student. Poverty needs are different too, and more families are facing poverty and possible homelessness. These are huge problems that need to be addressed. As a teacher currently involved in providing distance learning and assisting staff in meeting the needs of struggling students, I feel uniquely qualified to assist in working on these issues legislatively.

  • Require robust preparation for students in multiple educational settings

  • Develop funding options to assure that mandates are not unfunded

  • Assure that the standards of quality for education are not reduced and that the needs of special learners are met by all public schools

  • Connect areas of health care, social work, mental health, nutrition and family assistance are directly connected to student services.

Patient with Healthcare Nurse


In Montcalm and Gratiot county, we face the reduction of health service providers and hospital services at a time of great health concern. Some services have been necessarily restricted to protect health care workers and give facilities time to increase preparation and resources. Soon people will be returning for routine health care as well as urgent care needs. With physical distancing measures in place, access to services will require more options.

The availability and delivery of meals is essential for our seniors who have relied on congregate meals in the past. Human contact by phone or video are important to maintain social connections and diminish depression and a sense of isolation. The legislature can require data and programming to assure that at-risk populations are having their needs recognized and addressed.

  • Promote broadband access and improved communication technologies

  • Develop greater ability to access telehealth systems for mental and physical health issues

  • Expand medical transit services for those who lack transportation

  • Demand a strong oversight program for nursing homes, adult care, foster care or other closed facilities that serve at-risk populations



The lives of farmers and small business owners have been deeply impacted on many levels. The economic downturn has changed how people eat and how they get their food. Many local stores and businesses have been closed. PPP loans have not been equitably distributed. Some businesses will not survive and that hurts every one of us. The state can work to protect credit and finance options, to reduce burdensome regulation, to promote the use of local businesses and farm products.

  • Improve credit/finance protections for owners of small farms and agri-business

  • Support local businesses and factories as they work to protect their employees and their consumers. Work to eliminate burdensome regulation, but not at the expense of health or safety

  • Encourage reforms that provide short- and long-term access to a legal and stable workforce, particularly for agriculture

  • Promote local markets, field-to-table programs, farmer’s markets and food festivals

  • Encourage student participation in school-to-work programs, mentoring, career centers and technical skills that support agriculture and agribusinesses.

Image by Benjamin Faust

We must look at our vulnerable populations across the district and across the state to better provide support services. That is especially true of military veterans and medical workers now facing issues of PTSD. We are losing some of our young patriots to homelessness, addiction, suicide—it doesn’t have to be this way. We can’t just post a banner to say “thanks” to health care workers who have faced death upon gruesome death, while in panic that they might infect their own families. We must honor the lives lost by the ones trying to save lives.

I support the governor’s plan to provide free tuition to front line medical workers to further their education. I also support a raise in minimum wage for restaurant and grocery store employees who have put their own health at risk to serve the rest of us.

            • Improve access to counseling for families of active duty and veteran service personnel

            • Advocate for expanding/improving programs dealing with PTSD in any stress scenario

            • Assist front-line workers and veterans in accessing any career or education options for which they are eligible

            • Work to determine the needs of other vulnerable populations in our communities—those with harmful addictions, homeless families or individuals, or those facing issues or discrimination based on one’s gender/race/age/ethnicity


It is distressing to see our country, our state, so divided and argumentative. I believe that we can work together for common goals with civility—that’s something I’ve worked on in the collaborative bargaining process between the school board and teaching staff. And, of course, it is something that I work on in a daily way with students, as they learn to cooperate and compromise in their own disputes and issues. I think Lansing could use more problem-solving and less partisanship.

We can value the health of the individual and work to protect the health of our economy at the same time. We can strengthen our rural roots and resolve by working together to create a new normal of greater compassion and stronger communities across rural Michigan.

In the Classroom




October 10, 11am-1pm


Meet and Greet with Karen Garvey on October 10, 11am-1pm at 222 E. Gilson Street,  Edmore MI

October 10, 2-4pm


Meet and Greet with Karen Garvey on October 10, 2-4pm at Ensley Park 518 Shaw Street, Howard City MI



CTE Karen Garvey
PO Box 555 Edmore MI 48829

P. 989-304-6080



District 70 covers all of Montcalm County and parts of Gratiot County including the cities of Alma and St. Louis. Portions of Arcada and Emerson township and Bethany, Pine River and Seville township are also within District 70.


Montcalm County cities and towns include: Carson City, Edmore, Greenville, Howard City, Lakeview, Pierson, Sheridan, Stanton

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