Karen was raised in a modest home in a small California farming community where she developed her core beliefs as a social and fiscal conservative. Her grandparents immigrated from Japan and Poland. Although her grandparents were prevented from becoming naturalized citizens until their sunset years, they raised their children to be proud Americans. Her father was a member of the 442nd Battalion, the most highly decorated battalion, during World War II.
Born in Colorado, her parents moved to California where Karen attended schools in the Central Valley. To help pay for college school supplies, she worked as a nurse’s aide and lab assistant. She met her husband David Testerman at college. While David served in the U.S. Air Force Karen devoted herself to providing a nurturing home for their four children. Their sons flew combat missions over Kosovo and Iraq for the Air Force and Navy. Their eldest daughter is a Coast Guard veteran. In her spare time Karen volunteered with the Officers’ Wives Clubs in community outreach to disabled children, hospitals and nursing homes and served as the Marine Mom for the US Marine Embassy Guard Unit in Australia, before coming to New Hampshire in 1993. They currently live in Franklin.
Karen is a long time advocate of family values and rights. She joined with a group of grass root activists who fought the introduction of Goals 2000 in New Hampshire to a standstill. As Executive Director of Cornerstone Policy Research (a New Hampshire family policy organization she founded in 2000), she became the leading voice for the traditional family. She led the fight on numerous family rights issues. Karen is also the “go-to” person for national pro-family group activities in the State. She is a recipient of the Family Research Council “Family Faith and Freedom” award and the Cornerstone Policy Research “William Wilberforce” award. NH Magazine selected her as one of their “Remarkable Women,” and she received the national Smart Girl Politics “Engage” award. She was awarded the Eagle Forum Eagle Award for New Hampshire, and was named the Nashua Area Federation of Republican Women Woman of the Year. She was a Granite Award Finalist for the Knights of Columbus. Karen is a TV and radio host, a columnist and author of “I Choose to Live Free.”
A current City Councilor, Karen is the founder of two organizations, the NH Family Policy Council, Cornerstone Policy Research, and First Principles. She has been a founding board member of several organizations, including the National Heritage Center for Constitutional Studies, Liberty Harbor Academy, and the NH Chapter of Smart Girl Politics. Karen was honored to lead a Rotary Group Study Exchange to Northern Germany.
Due to her involvement as a military wife, mother and daughter, Karen has visited all 50 states, lived in every region of the United States and abroad.
In addition to her involvement with her extended family, Karen has the ability to build broad coalitions of diverse groups to accomplish common goals. These have included pro family, pro gun, taxpayer groups, political leaders, military groups and religious leaders.
Karen has been active with several organizations such as Coalition of NH Taxpayers, Faith Based Action Network, the New Hampshire Alliance, NH Firearms Coalition, All Saints Anglican Church, NH Right to Life, and served on the Abstinence Advisory Committee of Health and Human Services,. School District Governance Association of NH, and is the NH Representative of Secure the Grid. She served as the co-chair to develop the Faith Based Community Initiative in NH and is a member of the NH Firearms Coalition, the NRA, and a life member of Gun Owners of NH. She was also the only NH representative to First Lady Laura Bush’s Conference on Helping America’s Youth. She has also served as a Certified State Health Insurance Program Specialist.
Karen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology with a minor in Chemistry from California State University at San Jose, and has been certified to teach (and has taught) science courses through the college level. She has taken classes at the California State University in Fresno, University of Nebraska, State University of New York in Plattsburgh, Wilbraham Collage, and the University of Australia.
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