College of Social Sciences


Katy Sorenson

Katy Sorenson

Katy Sorenson is the founder, president and CEO of the Good Government Initiative at the University of Miami.

Sorenson’s commitment to civic activism began in 1965 after attending a civil rights demonstration and continued throughout her career as an elected official. In 1994, Katy was inspired to run for County Commissioner against a six year incumbent after news broke of his scandalous misconduct in and out of office. With strong convictions and a determination to improve local governing, Katy launched a grassroots campaign and worked tirelessly to defeat the incumbent and represent District 8 on the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners. This District included more than 170,000 residents of diverse backgrounds, encompassed three cities, and a significant portion of the agricultural lands of the county.

As a commissioner, Katy was an outspoken advocate for human rights and equality for all residents, for the environment and managed growth, regional cooperation, child welfare issues, and support of the arts. Her proudest achievements were defeating plans for an ill-conceived airport at Homestead Air Reserve Base, a site located between Everglades and Biscayne National Parks, and sponsoring and passing an amendment to the human rights ordinance which guaranteed civil rights to gay and lesbian citizens. After 16 years of service as County Commissioner, Sorenson made the decision to leave the commission and launch the Good Government Initiative at the University of Miami.

Sorenson is a weekly contributor to the Sun Sentinel’s South Florida 100, and is featured regularly as a Roundtable commentator on WPLG Local 10’s This Week in South Florida and on WZAB 880 AM’s The Gray Zone.

Sorenson received a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She served as a legislative aide to Illinois State Senator Dawn Clark Netsch, as a political consultant, and as the executive director of California Women Lawyers Bar Association. She has been married to Janis Dzelzkalns, M.D., since 1978 and they have two adult children, Emma and Arnie. Katy and her husband live in Pinecrest.