Kathy Dahlkemper took office as Erie County Executive on January 7th, 2014.
Kathy grew up in Erie and earned her B.S. in Dietetics from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, Kathy and her husband Dan moved to Texas where she worked as the Chief Clinical Dietitian at Medical Center Hospital in Conroe.
Kathy moved back to Erie County in 1986 and worked as a consulting dietitian. While she and her husband Dan raised their five children, Kathy spent time volunteering and was involved with many community initiatives. In 1998, she and Dan co-founded the Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park (LEAF), a non-profit organization in which she served as Executive Director for 10 years. Under Kathy’s leadership, LEAF raised over $2 million for park improvements, creating a multi-use urban park that is enjoyed by people from all over the region. Kathy concurrently worked as Director of Human Resources and Special Projects at Dahlkemper Landscape Architects & Contractors, her family’s business.
Motivated to run for office for the first time by a desire to bring visionary leadership to Washington, Kathy was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for the 3rd Congressional District of Pennsylvania and served from 2009-2011. She was the first woman elected to hold this position, defeating a seven-term incumbent. During her tenure in Congress, Dahlkemper served on the Agriculture Committee, Science & Technology Committee and the Small Business Committee. She authored the Young Invincibles legislation, which allows young adults to remain on their parents’ health insurance up until the age of 26 under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Since leaving Congress, Kathy has completed the Executive Education program “Women and Power: Leadership in a New World” at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She was a faculty member for The 2012 Project at Chatham University, which aimed to elect more women to public office. Committed to encouraging women to run for office, she currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Pennsylvanian Center for Women & Politics.
As Erie County Executive, Kathy remains committed to improving her community, and is a leader in the effort to ensure Erie County’s economic resurgence. She is working with private and public partners to create an environment of opportunity for the citizens of Erie County, to build a brighter future, and to move Erie County forward.
A mother of five and grandmother of six, Kathy enjoys keeping up with her busy family. An outdoor enthusiast, you are likely to find her hiking or biking in the area. Kathy enjoys exploring the abundance of natural resources in Erie County, a place she is proud to call home.
You can follow Kathy Dahlkemper on Twitter: @Kdahlkemper, Instagram: Kathy_Dahlkemper, and keep in touch via her Facebook page: Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper.