Meet Karen René

Congressional Democrat for the 13th District U.S. House of Representatives

Karen René gets the people’s business done. She doesn’t just talk about it. She doesn’t make empty promises. Through collaboration, determination, and innovative thinking, she delivers.

From her days as a freshly minted Small Business Administration attorney working to restore Atlanta lives ravaged by disaster to her 14 years coordinating with federal officials and local businesses to create careers and opportunities for young people at the federal Job Corps in Atlanta.

From her three terms as an East Point, Georgia, City Council member helping resurrect and restore communities to her key role as a vital part of the successful Democratic effort to win back Georgia in 2020.

Karen René produces for the people of Georgia.

Now, she wants to deliver for you as your representative in the 13th Congressional District.

Karen understands the people of the 13th District. She was born and raised on a farm in Alabama. So, she recognizes the needs of farmers in Rockdale and Newton counties.

Karen’s 10 years as council member and later mayor pro tem in East Point helped her become intimately aware of the challenges and the solutions for cities like Snellville, Conyers, Oxford, Covington, Lilburn, Lawrenceville, Social Circle, Mansfield, and Loganville.

When Karen was elected in 2014, the East Point population had fallen in 10 years by a whopping 15% to the lowest level in 40 years. By the time she left, the population had nearly rebounded, jumping to its second-highest level in its history.

How did she do it? Karen collaborated with fellow council members and local leaders to dramatically reduce the city’s blighted properties. A cleaner community created more development and attracted more homeowners. Consequently, the city’s population increased, and home values rose from an average of $20,000 in 2014 to between $250,000 and $450,000.

That is Karen René, working with others to create a better community.

Meanwhile, Karen helped improve programs to lift the quality of life for seniors and veterans by providing more funding for utilities, home repairs, and transportation.

A graduate of Alabama State University with a law degree from Atlanta Law School, Karen was born and raised in Selma, Alabama, the crucible of Black voting rights efforts in the 1960s.

Her mother and father were there when the late Civil Rights activists John Lewis, who served as a Georgia congressman for 34 years, and Hosea Williams, a former Atlanta city councilman, five-term member of the Georgia senate, and former Dekalb County commissioner, were brutally beaten at the Edmund Pettus Bridge during their pivotal march in 1965 for voting rights. 

Consequently, Karen recalls, her parents always took her and her five siblings with them to vote as children, so they could see how important it is to cast a ballot.

Karen was drawn to opportunities to help others immediately after graduating from Atlanta Law School. When she took the position as the business development director at Job Corps, for example, she planned to stay only 30 days, “but I fell in love with the kids and the difference I could make for them and Atlanta businesses,” she said. “I ended up staying for more than a decade.”

As vice president and the program director with the NAACP Atlanta Branch, she was key in its 19-county get-out-the-vote effort that won Georgia in 2020 and helped send Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the Senate, where they were the key votes in confirming the first Black Supreme Court justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson

Others have recognized Karen’s more than 20 years of activism and service. Last year, the Fulton County Commission named her Fulton County Elected Official of the Year, and she received the Impact Award from the 100 Black Men of South Metro Atlanta.

Karen wants to expand her efforts as the representative of the people of the 13th Congressional District in Congress, focusing on the local and national issues vital to Georgia, economic development, affordable housing, youth development, job training with workforce development, fair wages, senior services, and health care.

She needs your vote.