Mayor Karen Holman has lived in Palo Alto for nearly 40 years. Originally from Missouri, she was born in Carthage, a small town, whose visual appeal and organization inspired her to major in Graphic Arts at the University of Arkansas. Holman grew up with four older brothers surrounded by beautiful parks, the surrounding countryside, and a plethora of natural activities.
Once Mayor Holman moved to Palo Alto in 1975, she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Due to her love for Palo Alto, she is passionate about sustainability and preserving the beauty for future generations.
She became engaged in Palo Alto in many ways including serving on City Council, eight years on the Palo Alto Planning and Transportation Commission serving two years as chair, neighborhood associations, the Palo Alto Zero Waste Task Force, the Acterra Zero Waste Working Group, and the Palo Alto History Museum.
Mayor Holman is dedicated to upholding the construction and demolition (C&D) ordinance for reducing, salvaging, recycling, and enforcement measures to divert materials from landfill and to reduce the environmental impact of producing new materials.
Each year, the Council sets its priorities giving the community a clear definition of what the City is trying to accomplish throughout the year. Mayor Holman is very passionate about one priority in particular: The Built Environment: Multi-modal transportation, parking and livability. In this vein, the City launched its new Sustainability and Climate Action Plan (S/CAP) initiative in August 2014 to chart a path to a more sustainable future, find ways to improve our quality of life, grow prosperity and create a thriving and resilient community—all while dramatically reducing our carbon footprint. Mayor Holman was very instrumental in launching the S/CAP initiative. Mayor Holman recently met with staff from the City of Helsinki and the Finland Ministry of Transportation on their Mobility as a Service (MaaS) initiative, and how Palo Alto can apply MaaS as a sustainable, carbon-free way to improve the quality of lives in Palo Alto, and encourage a more connected and healthier place to live.
Some of Holman’s greater achievements have been redirecting the conversation of building a recycling center in the environmentally sensitive Baylands to one of focusing on waste reduction and dedicating 7.7 acres of City-owned land adjacent to Foothills Park.
Holman has truly made her mark in improving the sustainability practices in Palo Alto.