by Lisa Moody Breslin, photography by Amy McIntyre Devilbiss
A ninth generation Hanover area resident, Kate Klunk has packed food for Utz and worked at the White House for President George W. Bush.
She graduated from Dickinson College with a B.S. in History, Economics and Public Policy Studies and earned a law degree from The Dickinson School of Law of Pennsylvania.
On November 4, 2014, she was elected to represent the newly-created 169th State House district.
What is your most treasured possession? The photograph of my family and in particular my Mamaw meeting President George W. Bush at the White House. I took my immediate family (minus my brother who was in his first year at Pitt) and my Mamaw down to the White House to meet President Bush on a Sunday afternoon when he arrived back from a trip to Camp David. There was much fanfare that day as it was the Sunday after the 2004 November election. I was so proud to be able to introduce President Bush to my family and in particular my Mamaw. Since that day, my Mamaw has struggled with dementia and Alzheimer’s. She may not fully remember that day, but when I tell her the story and show her the picture she always gets a big smile on her face that reminds me how proud she is of what I have accomplished.
Siblings? Yes, 2. A younger brother, Jim, and a younger sister, Jenna,
Favorite movie (right now)? Right now, I don’t have much time for movie watching, but I’m slowly catching up on TV episodes of NCIS and Scandal.
Favorite Book? The Great Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s prose, imagery –it’s second to none. I’ve probably read the book at least five times. I have my high school English teacher, Greg Boehne, to thank for this pick.
Favorite cause? Those that help find cures for cancer and support local cancer patients and survivors including the American Cancer Society and its Walk for Life and our local cancer support organizations like Pink Out.
Where and when are you happiest? In Fenwick Island, Delaware, sitting on the beach enjoying the sun and ocean breeze with my family.
List three adjectives that your classmates at Dickinson College would have used describe you during your college years? And now? Driven, personable, intelligent (college years); Listener, loyal, grounded (now).
Do any stories from those college days stick out? I remember all of those Friday and Saturday nights when I was in the library and would see my friends walk by on their way to parties. And, I also remember getting ready for class on September 11, 2001 and watching the Today Show as they reported on the first plane to strike the World Trade Center. I left for my Intro to Macroeconomics class and by the time I arrived for my class the second plane had crashed into the other tower. I will never forget the sadness of that day and the pride and love that I felt for our nation in the days that followed.
Was there a pivotal moment in law school that changed your direction in life? If yes, briefly discuss. One of my best friends from law school received a diagnosis of brain cancer during the second month of our first year. For nearly three years, my friend Robbie fought this devastating disease with such a zest for life, optimism, and hope until he lost his battle just a few weeks after I graduated. He left me with a new outlook on life. The lessons that I learned through how he lived his life will always stay with me. He taught me that life is too short to sweat the small stuff…that life is too short to not to go after your dreams…and that even though you may only be one person, that you get up every day and do your best to try and make a difference in the world not matter how small or big. When I was deciding on whether or not to run for this seat, I thought about Robbie and how he would have said, “Klunk you have to run!” in a way that only he could.
Briefly share one of your favorite memories from your White House roles (as a member of the National Economic Council team and President Bush’s communications team). Some of my favorite memories are of the White House Little League Tea Ball Games. It’s no secret that the President and I both share a love of the game of baseball. During one game in particular, I had the opportunity to serve as Frank Robinson’s personal attendant as he served as the honorary league Commissioner. As a life-long Orioles fan, it was such an honor to spend time with one of baseball and Baltimore’s greats.
During your campaign you had legions of individual and group endorsements. For which ones do you have the most pride? I’m thankful for all of my supporters, but most grateful for my family and friends who stood by me through all of the door knocking, fundraising letter stuffing, and poll working to help give me the opportunity to represent the people of my district.
Briefly describe your trademark style? Approachable, casual, classic.
What do you consider a weak moment in your professional life? Making the transition from DC and the White House back home to a small town and a to a small private practice law firm. The pace is much slower here in south central PA, which was a little bit of an adjustment. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way!
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Earning my White House internship on my own. I didn’t have any White House or national Republican Party connections. The White House Internship Director at the time said it was my experience packing Utz potato chips that really stuck out when he reviewed my resume. He said I was the only applicant with factory experience and that the experience was a sure sign of a hard worker.
What is your greatest fear? Passing a bill that at the time of passage seems like a good thing for the district based on the information available, but in hindsight turns out to not be the best for the district.
What trait do you most dislike in others? Negativity. I’m an eternal optimist…I like to live life on the bright side of things.
What is the trait you appreciate least about yourself? My inability to say no. I would have a lot more time to have a favorite current movie if I just said no a time or two.
In 20 years, what do you hope will be your greatest achievement? Lord willing…being a faithful wife and loving mother.