Commissioner Karen McCulloh

Elected Position

Karen was a County Commissioner twice from 1993-1997 and again from 2007-2013. She also served as a City Commissioner and Mayor (2000) from 1997-2001 prior to her re-election in April 2013. She again served as mayor in 2015-2016. She was re-elected to the Manhattan City Commission in November 2023 for a four-year term beginning January 2024.


Karen has been a Manhattan resident since the 1970s and has been active in community affairs for most of her life in the community. When she first moved to Manhattan, Karen was impressed with the majestic elms forming a green canopy over streets. Sadly, they were quickly destroyed by the Dutch elm disease. Karen's first civic involvement was working with the City forestry department and other neighborhood leaders in determining locations for new plantings. It has been 30 years, but through the years, Manhattan has turned green again. Karen has a BA from Kansas University and an MS from Kansas State University. She and her husband John have two great kids, Andrew and Kate, and six grandsons. Karen has served in public office in the following capacities:

  • Law Board Member and Chair
  • Riley County Health Board
  • Riley County Solid Waste Board
  • National League of Cities Energy and Environment Board
  • National Assoc. of Counties Energy, Environment and Land Use Board
  • Kansas Workforce Board
  • Manhattan Greater Community Foundation Board
  • K-State Theater Board
  • K-State Social Club President
  • Kansas Humanities Council
  • President of my neighborhood - City Park West
  • Riley County Cancer Walk Board (12 years)
  • Manhattan Arts Center Board
  • Mercy Regional Health Center Board
  • Manhattan Housing Partnership Board
  • President of the Manhattan/Riley County League of Women Voters
  • President and Life Member of the Riley County Historical Society