What Makes Katie Tick?

Having been raised in St. Louis, MO, I came east to attend Smith College.  I majored in philosophy and received my Bachelor's Degree from Smith in 1961. I was fortunate to spend my junior year in Paris which gave me a great appreciation for Parisian cafe music. I went on to get my Master's Degree in French language and literature from M.A. Washington University. In 1964, I married Doug Wheeler and we moved to New Hampshire in 1965 where he began teaching at the University of New Hampshire. We have two daughters both of whom are married and who have given us four wonderful grandchildren.

As we began our family, it was easy to become active in many organizations in the community.  Throughout my years in Durham, I have been privileged to serve in many capacities:

I began my political career when I was elected to my first term in NH Legislature, Nov. 1988; I was then re-elected in 1990, 1992, and 1994. In 1996, I ran for the NH Senate and was re-elected in 1998 and 2000. I did not seek re-election in 2002 for family reasons. In my fourteen years in the New Hampshire legislature, I was always a member of the Health and Human Services Committees.  In the NH Senate, I served, consecutively, as the Chair of the Insurance Committee and as the Chair of the Senate Public Institutions / Health and Human Services Committee.  I was one of the founding members of the New Hampshire Public Health Association and have served as President. During my Senate career, I was instrumental in pursuing legislative efforts associated with reproductive rights, tobacco prevention and control, access to health care, injury prevention (seatbelts and helmets), among many others. Currently I serve on the board of Community Partners of Strafford County and also of the NARAL-Pro-Choice NH Foundation.  Also, I am, by gubernatorial appointment, a member of the Health Services Planning and Review Board.

While I have many am passionate about many political issues, it is perhaps public health and health care issues, women’s health issues, and education and children’s related issues that I feel most strongly about. Having served as  President of the NH Public Health Association, I was honored to be the recipient of the American Public Health Association’s Affiliate Member Award for 2005, given at the APHA Annual Meeting held in December, 2005.  This award is given to a state affiliate member who demonstrates outstanding leadership in advocating and promoting public health. I also received the Granite State Award in 2005. I co-chaired several annual sessions of members of the State legislature and Senate to “educate” them about public health and why it is so important in New Hampshire. I also provided NHPHA policy positions on proposed legislative public health proposals that were pending before each respective body.  I also served as a member of the NH Turning Point Initiative statewide steering committee  and am member of the advisory committee of the University of New Hampshire’s Master of Public Health Program.