Statement on the Passing of Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn

Washington, DC—Common Cause Board Chair Martha Tierney issued the following statement on the passing of Karen Hobert Flynn, the organization’s ninth president and second woman in the role.

“Today, democracy lost one of its fiercest defenders: Karen Hobert Flynn.

A trailblazer and powerful advocate, Karen dedicated her career to reforming our government so it served everyone. Under her leadership of Common Cause in Connecticut, she secured landmark reforms — including winning Connecticut’s groundbreaking full public finance system, numerous ethics laws, and disclosure laws.

She was fearless in her pursuit of an inclusive democracy that lived up to its promise. Twice, Karen served as our national president, providing steady leadership in a time of uncertainty. First, after the sudden passing of President Bob Edgar, and then amid the upheaval of the 2016 presidential election until the time of her death. 

During turbulent times for our country and our organization, she led Common Cause with tenacity and grace, never backing down from holding the White House accountable and never losing sight of the nonpartisan vision for a more inclusive and representative democracy.

Under her leadership, Common Cause doubled its membership and expanded its presence, growing its democracy footprint to 30 states.

In her last year of life, she led a national coalition in the fight to protect and strengthen the right to vote for all and oversaw the largest national nonpartisan election protection program for the 2022 midterms. Within Common Cause, she started the 50-year-old organization’s process to become a more equitable workplace and doubled down on the commitment to secure an inclusive democracy for all.

Throughout the organization, Karen was revered for her strength to take on the toughest battles and win. She was respected for her willingness to speak out against inequity at the ballot box or in our justice system. And she was beloved for the genuine friendships she maintained with so many staff throughout her nearly 40 years as a member of Common Cause.

May her memory give us strength as together we carry forward her legacy of fighting for a government that lives up to the ideals of its people.”