Our advisory committee is a diverse roster of elected officials and former candidates across the country. This committee provides endorsed candidates with support, mentorship and a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s really like to run as a mama.
Karen McMahon was elected in November 2018 to represent the 146th Assembly District, which includes the Town of Amherst and the Village of Williamsville in Erie County, and the Town of Pendleton in Niagara County. Her decision to run for office was based on her fervent belief that she could be a more representative and effective advocate for her community.
Karen was raised in Snyder, New York and earned both her undergraduate and law degrees at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She worked for nearly 30 years as a confidential law clerk to judges of the New York State Appellate Division, Fourth Department, and the United States District Court for the Western District of New York. Following her retirement from federal service in 2016, she joined the private practice of her husband, attorney H. Jeffrey Marcus, representing parents of students with disabilities in special education cases.
In her first legislative session, Karen was the prime sponsor of pay equity legislation that expands the scope of the New York Equal Pay Act to include all protected classes of persons as specified in the New York Human Rights Law and prohibits pay disparities for "substantially similar" work (Ch. 93 of 2019). She was also the prime sponsor of legislation that expanded the eligibility for awards from the Office of Victim Services to victims of the crimes of unlawful surveillance and dissemination of unlawful surveillance images (A.7079). She was a co-sponsor of the Reproductive Health Act, the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act, and the Boss Bill, and is honored to be a voice for women in her community.
Additionally, Karen is an advocate for public education, having successfully secured additional funding for schools in her Assembly District. She was also a co-sponsor of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Ch.106 of 2019) and is committed to advancing initiatives to protect the environment and combat climate change.
Karen is the mother of three adult daughters - a teacher, a graduate student, and a legislative aide. She is a member of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, Western New York Chapter, the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the Adirondack Forty-Sixers.