clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:


State Sen. Karen Shepherd has formally filed as a Democratic candidate for the 2nd Congressional District seat. Her campaign will officially get under way next week.

Shepherd is expected to be the only major Democratic contender in the race. William Robbins, who is not well-known within the party, is also running as a Democrat."I think I'll get the nomination in the state convention, although we are working on delegates and will campaign with them," said Shepherd, 51.

Shepherd seeks to succeed Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, in the seat; the district was made more Republican by the GOP-dominated Legislature during reapportionment this year. Owens, who is running for the U.S. Senate this year, won the seat in 1986 and re-election 1988 and 1990.

Shepherd says she brings not only a woman's perspective to problems facing America but also a businesswoman's perspective.

She has had a varied career, from teaching college to community activist to government executive to magazine publisher to governmental fund-raiser.

In the mid-1960s, she and her husband, Vince, lived in Cairo, Egypt, where she taught English in the American University and Vince worked on a fellowship. "We were forced to leave in 1967, when Americans were evacuated at the start of the Six Day War (between Egypt and Israel)."

From there they went to San Francisco, where her husband worked for a school for the deaf "and I got pregnant and had our first child," Shepherd recalls. After Vince's father fell ill, the Shepherds moved back to Provo, where Vince took over the family business, Shepherd Oil Co.

Shepherd taught at BYU. "It was 1968. Remember that year? Moving from San Francisco to Provo was a real culture shock." In 1972, Shepherd got involved in politics, winning election as an alternate candidate to the Democratic National Convention that picked George McGovern to run against Richard Nixon. In 1974, she was Owens' Utah County coordinator for his U.S. Senate race.

Eventually, the Shepherds moved to Salt Lake City, Shepherd worked for one general session as a docket clerk in the Utah Senate and then was hired by Ted Wilson, who was Salt Lake County director of Social Services, as his administrative assistant. When Wilson left to run for Salt Lake mayor, Shepherd was appointed county Social Services director.

In 1978 Shepherd bought Network Magazine, a magazine "for women and the men who live and work with them."

In 1988 she sold the magazine and went to work for the University of Utah's David Eccles School of Business as head of development and community relations. She's on leave from that job to run for Congress.

In 1990, Shepherd sought her first elective office, winning a northeastern Salt Lake district in the Utah Senate.

"I learned in business that you have to take care of your people - train them and support them - and you have to keep up with technology. The federal government has done neither of those things. We're not educating our people, we're letting our cities fall apart. We must find ways to allow Americans to save more, and then invest in them through education and rebuild our cities, roads and bridges."

She imagines that Republicans are combing through back copies of Network, looking for things to trip her up. "We're rereading them too," she said with a smile. "On the whole, I'm comfortable with everything I wrote - 10 years of editorials. We did take strong stands on equal pay for working women and on education. I stand by that."