About Kay

Biography

State Representative Kay Khan has represented Newton in the Massachusetts House of Representatives since 1995, and currently serves as House Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities. Rep. Khan has served as the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities since 2009, which provides oversight to the Department of Children and Families, The Department of Developmental Disabilities, The Department of Youth Services, The Department of Transitional Assistance, The Commission for the Blind, The Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Mass Rehabilitation Commission. The Committee also works closely with the Department of Early Education and Care, as well as the Department of Mental Health.

 

Representative Khan is the founder and co-chair of the legislative Mental Health Caucus, the first of its kind in the country, and founder and co-chair of a task force on Women in the Criminal Justice System and their children, under the Caucus of Women Legislators.  She served as the Co-Chair of the Caucus of Women Legislators several years ago and in recent years, she served on the Commission to End Homelessness and currently serves on the Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Commission and the Special Commission on Early Education and Care.

 

Rep. Khan is one of the legislature’s most outspoken advocates for progressive policies for incarcerated individuals, including women. She’s an observer on the Criminal Justice Commission, looking at ways to prevent crime by implementing data-driven, evidenced based public safety reforms that protect citizens in our cities and towns, reduces recidivism and save taxpayer dollars.

 

The Chairwoman earned her bachelor’s degree from Boston University School of Nursing and her first job as a nurse was at Boston Children’s Hospital, following this, she became an instructor for Boston University School of Nursing undergraduate students on a pediatric rotation. She went on to earn a master’s degree in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing from Boston University and worked in a group private practice in Newton for close to 20 years.

 

Kay is a world traveler and has visited a wide array of countries around the world.

 

She enjoys hiking, biking, travel, arts and culture, theatre, ballet, cooking, entertaining, and spending time with her grandchildren.

 

Representative Khan has lived in Newton for more than 40 years where she and her husband raised their three children and now enjoys her seven grandchildren.

 
State House Accomplishments
 
Throughout her career as State Representative, Kay has served on the Joint Committees on Human Services and Elder Affairs, Housing, Public Health, Health Care Finance, State Administration, Judiciary and House Vice-Chair of the Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.
 
Representative Khan has developed a strong voice on a variety of crucial issues:


•        Affordable and compassionate health and mental health care;
•        Quality education for our children;
•        Affordable housing;
•        A clean and safe environment;
•        A vibrant economy;
•        Accessible and reliable public transportation system;
•        Putting an end to homelessness;
•        Protecting services for our seniors and our most vulnerable citizens;
•        Social justice and equal rights.


Additionally, Kay has spearheaded many successful initiatives in our community:


•        Creation of a domestic violence prevention program at Newton-Wellesley Hospital;
•        Advocated and ensured construction of three major sound barriers in Newton;

•        Secured state funding for major improvements to the Lower Falls Community Center;
•        Obtained funding in a state bond bill for rehabilitation of the Leo J. Martin Golf Course;
•        Successfully advocated for the conversion of an unused railroad bridge to a pedestrian 

         walkway over the Charles River in Lower Falls; 
•        Continuing to advocate for and secure funding for the Auburndale Commuter Rail

         accessibility project to be ADA compliant;

•        Founding member of the Newton Cultural Alliance (NCA) to promote arts in Newton.
 
Personal Background
 
Throughout her public life, she has been inspired by the memory of her parents. Her father left Nazi Germany in 1937 to begin a new life in America and later welcomed his parents and grandparents, who escaped from Germany and were on the last ship President Roosevelt allowed into this country, arriving on Ellis Island in 1941.  The Representative's father developed a deep love for his adopted country and a passion for democracy, equal rights and social justice, which he instilled in Kay.  She was born in Cherokee, Iowa, and at a young age moved to Wellesley, Massachusetts. Representative Khan's mother was from the Midwest and after eventually moving to Wellesley, became actively engaged in the community.  In 1973 she was appointed Chairman of the Nutrition Education Committee, Women’s Auxiliary to the Massachusetts Medical Society and testified before Hubert Humphrey’s Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs.  In her testimony, she highlighted the importance of ways to provide adequate nutrition to millions of children attending schools, who at the time, were not participating in the National School Lunch and Child Nutrition Programs.