Karen Thurman, FMC Treasurer

The Honorable Karen Thurman, Treasurer, US Association of Former Members of Congress, US House of Representatives 1993-2003

 

Former Congresswoman Karen Thurman of Florida’s 5th Congressional District is one of the newest board members of the US Association of Former Members of Congress (FMC). She joined the Association this year at the recommendation of our President Barbara Kennelly, who has been a friend and mentor to Ms. Thurman. Ms. Thurman brings with her extensive experience as a career public servant, beginning her political career at 25 when she was elected to the city council of Dunnellon, Florida. She later went on to serve as Mayor of Dunnellon before moving to the Florida State Senate and finally becoming a US Representative in 1993. During her Congressional career, she became the sixth woman to serve on the House Ways and Means Committee. In 2005, after 10 years of service as a Member of Congress, she became the Chairman of the Florida Democratic Party and served for 5 years before resigning in 2010.

As a lifelong public servant, Ms. Thurman believes that staying involved with an organization like FMC is an opportunity to “give back. We have an obligation to use our relationships and experiences to build an organization that fosters bipartisan solutions. And hopefully we pass that spirit on to our colleagues.”

Ms. Thurman certainly knows about bipartisanship, as in Congress she represented both the conservative and liberal leanings of her district.  Talking with InBrief, she discussed how being “very visible and listening, not shying away and being direct,” while challenging, allowed her to be successful in her career. “It was showing up, picking up the phone on holidays, making sure people express their views and know that they had been heard.” The diversity of the district, which at the time represented both rural and urban areas, allowed her to have an understanding of many views in Congress which helped her effectively communicate with her colleagues from across the country.

Ms. Thurman highlighted FMC’s Congress to Campus program as one of the Association’s valuable programming assets. “I think it’s important that we are on college campuses and talking to potential decision-makers at whatever level they choose to participate. Because the positive is drowned out by the negatives I think that we have an obligation to show a different side of what can truly be a rewarding experience to either work in government or possibly run for an elective position.”