Biography 
As State Representative of the 61st Legislative District, Kate M. Harper is focused on preserving the environment, improving transportation infrastructure and protecting public safety.

Kate was appointed to a second term as chairman of the House Local Government Committee for the 2017-18 legislative session. She brings a wealth of experience to this position, having served as a township supervisor for more than a decade in Lower Gwynedd Township. She also continues to serve as a solicitor to local governments. Kate previously served as chairman of the House Children and Youth and the Ethics committees.

Kate also was appointed to the Local Government Commission, a bipartisan legislative service agency focused on research and legislation that will enable local governments to be more effective and efficient in providing services.

This session, she also will continue her service on the House Transportation Committee, working to ensure the safety and efficiency of our highways, bridges and mass transit systems.

In the 2015-16 Legislative Session, Kate sponsored legislation to help local government entities cope with a tough economy by expanding their investment options. Act 10 of 2016 authorizes local government entities to invest in common, high-quality money market instruments, such as repurchase agreements, commercial paper, negotiable certificates of deposit and bankers’ acceptances.

During the 2013-14 session, Kate’s legislation to help make counseling and other mental health services more accessible to veterans and their family members was signed into law. The idea for the legislation came from a doctor in Blue Bell who was not permitted, under prior state law, to volunteer to provide free mental health services to military personnel and their families through the national “Give an Hour” program because the services are provided outside of a clinic setting.

She also authored legislation to help communities deal with flooding concerns by authorizing new or existing municipal authorities to undertake storm water planning, management and implementation. Through her work as Local Government Committee chairman, an identical bill introduced in the Senate ultimately became law.

Kate continues to be a leader for the environment. She played a key role in the writing of impact fee legislation (Act 13 of 2012) to direct a portion of funding generated from natural gas drilling in the Commonwealth to statewide environmental programs, including the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund and Environmental Stewardship Fund. She has been a vocal proponent of preserving and enhancing the state’s Growing Greener program, first by extending the fee on trash sent to landfills (Act 90 of 2002) to support environmental initiatives and then by serving as the prime architect of the Growing Greener II initiative (Act 1 of 2005), which, after overwhelming approval by Pennsylvania’s voters in a referendum made $625 million in funding available for farmland preservation, open space and parks, and environmental projects. The tipping fee on trash dumped at landfills pays back the bonds. Kate has also been a vocal defender and protector of the Keystone Recreation, Parks and Conservation Fund, which supports open space, historic preservation and improvements to state parks and forests.

In recognition of her dedicated public service and environmental advocacy, Kate has received numerous awards, including: 

2016 Montgomery Bar Association's Women in the Law 2016 Margaret Richardson Award 

2014 Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association Conservation Champion of the Year

2014 Montgomery County Community College President’s Award

2014 North Penn Volunteer Fire Company Community Service Award

2013 Governmental Award from the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society

2011 Legislator Recognition Award from the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts

2011 President’s Award from the Pennsylvania Association for Justice

2011 Conservation Leadership Award from the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association

2010 Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Support from the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program

2009 Certificate of Appreciation in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from the 28th Combat Aviation Brigade Task Force Diablo

2008 Governmental Award from the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society

2008 Certificate of Appreciation from the Route 202/Section 700 Community Task Force 

2006 Citizen of the Year Award from Lower Gwynedd Township

2006 Legislator of the Year from the Pennsylvania and Delaware Valley Chapter of Community Associations Institute (CAI)

2005 Distinguished Service Award from the Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association

2005 recognition for leadership on the Growing Greener Program from the Pennsylvania Environmental Council 

2004 Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy’s Land Use Award

2004 Legislative Leadership Award from the Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association

2004 Recognition by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts 

2004 Distinguished Service Award from the North Penn Chamber of Commerce

2004 President’s Award from the Partnership Transportation Management Association of Montgomery County

2003 Conservation award from the Heritage Conservancy

2003 Recognition by Pennsylvania Land Trust Association

2002 Certificate of Appreciation from the Montgomery/Bucks Motor Carrier Enforcement Team

2002 Government Service Award from the Northern Montgomery County Recycling Commission

2001 Governor’s Individual Award for Excellence in Local Government 

2000 Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Athena Award

  

Kate’s state and community involvement also includes service on the Pennsylvania and Delaware Regional Water Committees; the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board Rules Committee; and the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network’s Board of Directors, a program which provides free legal services to low-income Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth. She also chaired the Montgomery County Lands Trust, a non-profit conservancy. Kate previously served as chairman of the Lower Gwynedd Township Board of Supervisors and the Montgomery County Open Space Planning Board, and as vice chairman of the Montgomery County Planning Commission. She also served on the Montgomery Bar Association Board of Directors and chaired the bar association’s Long-Range Planning Committee.

A graduate of Gwynedd Mercy Academy, Kate obtained her undergraduate degree from LaSalle University and went on to earn her law degree from Villanova University. A practicing lawyer for more than 30 years, she is a partner with the Fort Washington-based firm Timoney Knox LLP and represents individuals, families, entrepreneurs, and municipal agencies. Kate also has the distinction of being one of the few Montgomery County lawyers to have argued a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Kate and her husband, Paul J. Kelly, CPA, still reside in Lower Gwynedd Township and have two sons, Paul and Tom.

She was elected in 2000 to represent the people of the 61st Legislative District, which includes North Wales Borough, all of Towamencin and Upper Gwynedd townships, and portions of Lower Gwynedd and Whitpain townships.

Learn more on her Facebook page.

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