Kara King: The Power of Listening
Kara King was born in Colorado Springs, to a military family, and currently serves as the Mayor of Bee Cave, Texas, as well as a teacher in the Lake Travis Independent School District. She is also the proud mother of three amazing children and volunteers in several community organizations.
As a young child, King saw her grandfather’s dedication to service through his work as an Indiana County Commissioner. She grew up riding in the back of cars in various parades and wearing a shirt that said, “Vote for My Grandpa”. These experiences, and seeing her grandfather’s hard work, had a major influence on King’s commitment to service in her own life.
King began her career in politics about nine years ago, with her campaign for Bee Cave City Council. Before beginning her career in politics, she had never worked on other campaigns. Her success was the result of blood, sweat, and tears, and learning as she went. King placed a high priority on listening to the concerns/needs of residents, as she wanted to know what mattered to them. King truly believes that government is there to represent the interests of their community, as the people are to whom the community belongs.
When asked what she believed to be the biggest issue facing Bee Cave, King responded that Bee Cave’s high growth rate produces challenges. Since her time in politics, Bee Cave has tripled in size, and continues to grow faster. This is similar to the fast growth that is currently seen in many other cities surrounding Austin. With this growth comes more traffic, stress, and the challenge of businesses retaining good employees. King feels that balanced growth, both residential and commercial, is important, in order to create the best possible quality of life for all residents.
In addition to her role as Mayor of Bee Cave, King also serves as a teacher at Bee Cave Middle School. King says it is very important for her not to share her opinions regarding political matters in class because she believes it is the job of the teacher to teach their students HOW to think, NOT what to think. By keeping her role as a teacher separate from her role as Mayor, she hopes to help her students form their own opinions.
When asked what she saw as the biggest challenge to a career in politics, King replied she sees social media as a blessing and a curse. While social media can be a valuable tool to share information, King says that it also can serve to propagate rumors. She sees people, instead of reaching out to a direct source, finding incorrect information on Facebook or other social media platforms, which then serves an echo chamber of this misinformation.
King advises any person who wishes to work in politics to be prepared to start small and do the grunt work first. She says that a person cannot just walk into their dream job and that they must work their way up, in order to learn and understand their position. It is clear, that King has a passion and keen understanding of the work she is doing, which has certainly translated to her work, both as Mayor and a teacher.