Karie Kirschbaum is the mayor of the City of Gary. She is the fifth generation born and raised in Gary. In 1980 she moved west and after 30 years returned to her hometown. While out west, she was an ISO9000 consultant and a top sales and marketing person for a national packaging company.
She and her husband were inner-city activists and organizers networking with government, churches and non-profit entities to restore families, helping those with addictions, transitioning the homeless back into society and working on over all community development for over 20 of those years. She also spent many months on the mission field in Africa, the Philippines, Mexico, Europe and others.
Her experiences away from Norman County and rural life gave her a deep appreciation for her rural roots and the many positive aspects of Minnesota life. Since her return in 2010, she helped found Gary Cares in 2011, a non-profit serving the Norman County area and is a navigator for Shock & Awe youth philanthropy. Combined, since 2011, the organizations have brought over $300,000 in to Norman County. As mayor she has worked with the city council to update city parks and streets as well as creating a recreational area in the Gary Pines.