Senator Shealy was born in Columbia, SC, to the late Brooks Edward, Sr., and Bernice Bell Frye. At the time of her election in November 2012, Senator KATRINA SHEALY was the only woman in the South Carolina Senate — and a decade later, she is one of only five women in the state Senate. She represents District 23. Presently, she serves as Chairman of the Family & Veterans’ Services Committee and sits on the Finance, Corrections & Penology, Rules, and Labor, Commerce & Industry Committees in the Senate. She is also a member and past chair of the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children, co-chair of the State Suicide Prevention Coalition, member of the State Child Fatality Advisory Committee, and the State Domestic Violence Advisory Committee. She is a past chair of the Southern Legislative Conference’s Human Services and Public Safety Committee and chair-elect of the National Foundation for Women Legislators. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Lexington County Department of Social Services, the Girl Scouts of the Congaree, Friends of Juvenile Justice, served as Chair of the Lexington County Republican Party from 2007 to 2008; is a past president of the West Metro Republican Women, 2008-2010, and sits on the Advisory Board of the Women of Hope Lexington Medical Center Foundation.
In 2013, Senator Shealy was awarded Outstanding Female Statesman Award for Lexington County Republican Party, the South Carolina Republican Party Terry Haskins Award, was proclaimed South Carolina Federation of Republican Women’s 2013 Woman of the Year, received the Strom Thurmond Award for Excellence in Government in Public Service, the Saluda River Chapter of Trout Unlimited Conservationist of the Year Award; and in 2014, was awarded South Carolina Wildlife Federation Conservationist of the Year, the South Carolina Taxpayers Association “Friend of the Taxpayer” Award and the Woodman of the World “Community Leadership” Award.
In 2015, she was proclaimed National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Legislator of the Year, received the coveted Palmetto Trout Award, the Palmetto Center for Women Twin Award, and was celebrated as the SCCADVASA Legislator of the Year. In 2016, she was named Children’s Advocacy Champion for Children, received the United Way Common Good Award for Volunteerism, the Trailblazer Award for Leadership on Domestic Violence Issues, and in 2017, was named S.C. Beer Wholesalers Legislator of the Year, received the American Legion Special Legislative Award, the Respectable Award, Able SC, and the Legislative Award, S.C. Department of Probation, Pardon, and Parole Services—to name a few.
Senator Shealy is the founder of Katrina’s Kids, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which strives to give “Every Chance to Every Child” in foster care and group homes. A longtime champion of children’s and women’s issues, she formerly served as Chairman of the Board of the South Carolina Friends of Juvenile Justice, the Women’s Advisory Board for Lexington Medical Center, and as a board member for the Girl Scouts of the Congaree.
As Founder of Katrina’s Kids, Senator Shealy was celebrated for her philanthropy in the Spring 2020 issue of ELYSIAN magazine as an Inspiring Woman. Her interview can be seen on YouTube.