Commissioner Karen Valenzuela's Bio

Commission Chair, District Three
Commissioner, Board of Health
Thurston County Washington
2000 Lakeridge Drive, SW
Building 1, Room 269
Olympia, WA 98502-6045
(360) 786-5440
Send an e-mail to Karen
Commissioner Staff: Danielle Westbrook
(360) 786-5414


Term of Office

On January 22, 2009, Karen was appointed by Gov. Gregoire to fill the unexpired term in the 3rd district vacated by former County Commissioner Bob Macleod.  She was elected to the seat in November of that year, and re-elected November 2, 2010 to a full 4-year term.

Political Affiliation



Karen served nine years on the Tumwater City Council, and three years on the Tumwater Planning Commission prior to becoming a County Commissioner.

Along with Commissioner Wolfe, Commissioner Valenzuela was a co-founder of the Interjurisdictional Forum on Homelessness in 2003, and now represents Thurston County on its successor organization, the Thurston County HOME Consortium. She helped establish Tumwater's Farmers Market as well as Tumwater's sister city relationship with Mubende, Uganda. She was a leader in the adoption of Tumwater's ordinance to designate and protect a manufactured home park zone, a law that was later challenged and recently upheld by the Court of Appeals.

Commissioner Valenzuela was a public health worker for 20 years, and concentrates her Commission work on preservation of agricultural lands and critical areas in the county, climate change, and sustainability issues.

Represents the Board of Commissioners on

  • Adult Behavioral Health Legislative Task Force

  • Canvassing Board

  • Chehalis Basin Partnership

  • Chehalis River Basin Flood Authority

  • Community Investment Partnership

  • Economic Development Council

  • EMS Council (Medic One)

  • Fire Commissioners Association

  • Governor's Chehalis Basin Workgroup

  • HOME Consortium

  • Intercity Transit Authority

  • Law Library Board

  • Lucky Eagle 2% Committee

  • Mayor's Forum

  • Olympia Regional Clean Air Authority

  • Thurston Regional Planning Council

  • Washington State Association of Counties, Coastal Caucus Committee

  • Washington State Association of Counties, Legislative Steering Committee