World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Karen Carter Peterson

Article Id: WHEBN0007839962
Reproduction Date:

Title: Karen Carter Peterson  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Louisiana Science Education Act, United States House of Representatives elections in Louisiana, 2006, Louisiana Democratic Party, Buddy Leach, United States House of Representatives elections, 2006
Collection: 1969 Births, Howard University Alumni, Lawyers from New Orleans, Louisiana, Living People, Louisiana Democrats, Louisiana Lawyers, Louisiana State Senators, Members of the Louisiana House of Representatives, People from New Orleans, Louisiana, Politicians from New Orleans, Louisiana, Tobacco in the United States, Tobacco Taxation, Tulane University Alumni, Tulane University Law School Alumni, Women State Legislators in Louisiana
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Karen Carter Peterson

Karen Carter Peterson
Member of the Louisiana Senate
from the 5th district
Assumed office
Preceded by Cheryl Gray Evans
Chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party
Assumed office
April 28, 2012
Preceded by Buddy Leach
Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
from the 93rd district
In office
Preceded by Avery Caesar Alexander
Succeeded by Helena Moreno
Personal details
Born (1969-11-01) November 1, 1969
New Orleans, Louisiana
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Dana Peterson[1]
Alma mater Howard University
Tulane University
Profession attorney

Karen Carter Peterson (born November 1, 1969) is a Democratic member of the Louisiana State Senate, having represented the 5th District since 2010. She is also the current Chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party. Peterson is the first female to serve as chair of Louisiana's Democratic Party.[2] Since 2008, Peterson has served as Democratic National Committeewoman for Louisiana. Peterson previously served in the Louisiana House of Representatives.


  • Background 1
  • State House of Representatives 2
  • 2006 Congressional campaign 3
  • Louisiana State Senate 4
  • Chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party 5
  • BOLD political organization 6
  • Political positions 7
    • Obamacare 7.1
    • Tobacco taxation 7.2
    • Same-sex marriage 7.3
    • Evolution 7.4
  • Personal life 8
  • Notes 9
  • External links 10


Peterson was born and raised in New Orleans, the daughter of Ken and Gwen Carter. Her father was the first Black American to become Tax Assessor in New Orleans. Peterson graduated from Mercy Academy and in 1991 received a bachelor's degree in international business and marketing from Howard University in Washington, D.C. Peterson then returned to New Orleans to receive a law degree from Tulane University in 1995.

State House of Representatives

Peterson served as State Representative for district 93 from 1999 to 2010. Peterson served as House Speaker Pro Tempore from 2008 to 2010.

2006 Congressional campaign

Peterson was a candidate for U.S. Congress in Louisiana's 2nd congressional district (map) in the mid-term election of November 2006. She, along with several other candidates, challenged incumbent Democrat Bill Jefferson, who was the subject of an FBI investigation. She finished in second place with 19,972 votes (21.6% of the total votes cast), and therefore she and Jefferson entered a runoff round of voting on December 9, 2006. Jefferson prevailed by a 57%-43% margin, the lowest since his original election in 1990.

Peterson received endorsements from prominent Republican businessmen Joe Canizaro and Boysie Bollinger. She was also endorsed by both the Louisiana State Democratic Party and the Orleans Parish branch of the Democratic Party. She centered her campaign around the argument that Jefferson's corruption scandal left New Orleans with a lack of credible and respected representation in Congress. Jefferson, in turn, accused Peterson of profiting from no-bid "sweetheart" contracts with the New Orleans City Council as their legal advisor for utility regulation. In 2009 Jefferson was convicted of 11 felonies.

Louisiana State Senate

In 2010, Peterson won a special election to the Louisiana State Senate from the fifth district after her predecessor, Cheryl Gray Evans, resigned. Peterson served the remainder of Evans' term. In 2011, Peterson was re-elected for a full four-year term.[3]

Chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party

In the spring of 2012, Senator Peterson was elected Chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party by the Louisiana Democratic State Central Committee, ousting former chair Claude "Buddy" Leach by a vote of 85 to 75.[2]

BOLD political organization

Peterson is a political protégé of William J. Jefferson and his Progressive Democrats. With the help of BOLD, Peterson was elected in 1999 to the Louisiana state legislature as a representative for the 93rd district, which encompasses New Orleans, the upper French Quarter, and parts of Central City and Mid-City. In the state legislature, she was one of the most vocal supporters of a plan to reform the New Orleans public school system by putting it under state control. She was also a backer of levee board consolidation after the failures of the New Orleans Levee system following Hurricane Katrina.

Political positions


Karen Carter Peterson is a proponent of Obamacare and Federal medicaid expansion. In a statement to the state Senate, she argued that critics of Obamacare were motivated by race.[4][5] The statement drew criticism from Governor Bobby Jindal and the leader of the Louisiana Republican Party, Roger Villere.[6] As a result of the controversy, State Senator Elbert Guillory returned to the Republican Party, the party to which he was once registered but later left to run for elected office.[7][8]

Tobacco taxation

Although generally a proponent of restrictions on state government spending instead of tax increases to close budgetary shortfalls, Peterson, an avowed non-smoker, supports higher taxes on tobacco and use of the consequent revenue to fund priorities of the Louisiana Healthier Families Act.[9] Her 2009 House Bill 889 (Louisiana Healthier Families Act), after heavy lobbying by both sides, failed in the Louisiana House of Representatives; she attributed the loss to "the national ambition of our governor", Bobby Jindal, whom she claime is interested in the Presidency and wants to seek that office without a tax increase on his record.[10]

Same-sex marriage

In a statement as follows Peterson endorsed U.S. President Barack Obama's support for same-sex marriage:

President Barack Obama demonstrated the courage and leadership in his statement on marriage equality today that those of us who support him have always admired. It was particularly moving to hear him discuss how his views had evolved on this subject over the years. The change was not the result of some intellectual exercise or political calculation; it was the result of seeing the lives of friends and acquaintances in same sex relationships that changed his thinking on the issue. We are fortunate to have as our leader a man who is so committed to the principles of fairness and equality ...[11]

Peterson has appointed to her leadership team Stephen Handwerk, the first openly gay man to serve as an officer of the Louisiana Democratic Party. Handwerk writes a weekly column for the Lafayette Daily Advertiser and is the Democratic commentator on FM radio station KPEL in Lafayette.


In 2013, Peterson proposed repeal of the Louisiana Science Education Act, a 2008 law which permits science teachers in public schools to use supplemental classroom materials to question evolution as presented in science textbooks. The Senate Education Committee voted 3-2 on May 1 against the repeal. Over seventy Nobel Prize-winning scientists, supported Peterson's bill, and have urged that the state law be removed. Supporters of the law maintain that it permits critical thinking in the classroom.[12]

Personal life

Peterson lives in New Orleans’ Warehouse District. She is married to Dana Peterson, a political consultant.[1] The couple has no children. She appears in Spike Lee's documentary about Hurricane Katrina, When the Levees Broke.[13] Carter Peterson's sense of humor was manifest during the closing days of the 2009 legislative regular session when a cabinet official in Governor Bobby Jindal's administration accidentally coughed on her after he had tested positive for swine flu virus; the following day, Carter Peterson emerged in the House chamber wearing a hospital mask, prompting colleague state representative Jared Brossett to move that the House be "fully quarantined" until the plague subsided.[14]

In 2014, Peterson endorsed Senator Mary Landrieu for re-election.[15]


  1. ^ a b Michelle Krupa, 2nd District Congressional Race: James Carter is working behind the scenes, Times-Picayune, 18 August 2008.
  2. ^ a b Anderson, Ed (2012-04-29). "Karen Carter Peterson ousts Buddy Leach as leader of Louisiana Democratic Party". Times-Picayune (Saint Tammany Edition). p. A1. Retrieved 2012-04-30. 
  3. ^ Anderson, Ed (2011-09-14). "Louisiana lawmakers win races when no rivals qualify". Times-Picayune (New Orleans Metro). p. A1. Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  4. ^ Fox News. "Louisiana Democratic Party chief says ObamaCare critics motivated by race". Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  5. ^ "La. Sen. Karen Carter Peterson Not Apologizing For Racial Comments About Obamacare In The La. Legislature (Video)".  
  6. ^ "Jindal blasts Carter Peterson's race comments on Obamacare opposition". Retrieved June 1, 2013. 
  7. ^ Lauren McGaughey State Sen. Elbert Guillory, now a Republican, says Democratic Party chair remarks helped spur his switch Times-Picayune, 15 June 2013.
  8. ^ Dave Weigel The Ultimate Black Republican Pseudohistory Conversion Speech Slate, 19 June 2013.
  9. ^ Karen Carter Peterson, "Fix budget with tax on tobacco" in Times-Picayune, 6 June 2009, p. B5; Stephanie Grace, "Tobacco tax bill won't quit" in Times-Picayune, 11 June 2009, Saint Tammany Edition, p. B7. See also the Associated Press article "New Orleans lawmaker wants tobacco tax hike" in Times-Picayune, 17 March 2009.
  10. ^ Robert Travis Scott, "Tobacco tax increase snuffed out" in Times-Picayune, 16 June 2009, Saint Tammany Edition, p. A2.
  11. ^ Grace, Stephanie (2012-05-15). "Changing of the Guard". Times-Picayune (New Orleans Metro Edition). p. A1. Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  12. ^ "Senators reject repeal of Science Education Act".  
  13. ^ web site.When the Levees Broke
  14. ^ John Maginnis, "Legislature's wit, wisdom" in Daily Star (Hammond), 1 July 2009, p. 4A.
  15. ^ "Landrieu’s GOP Endorsements Pale In Comparison To 2008 Election". Retrieved September 12, 2014. 

External links

  • Louisiana Senate - Karen C. Peterson official government website
  • Karen Carter Peterson Campaign Website
  • Project Vote Smart - Representative Karen R. Carter (LA) profile
  • Follow the Money - Karen R Carter
    • 2005 2003 1999 campaign contributions
  • Democratic Leadership Council profile
  • "Karen Carter: Well-trained to run against Jefferson" Michelle Krupa, New Orleans Times-Picayune, October 16, 2006
  • The New Orleans Times-Picayune. “William Jefferson takes aim at Karen Carter.” November 1, 2006.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.