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Khary D. Penebaker (born October 22, 1977) is an American businessman and politician.

Khary Penebaker
Khary Penebaker (1).jpg
Born (1977-10-22) October 22, 1977 (age 41)
ResidenceWaukesha County, Wisconsin
Spouse(s)Amanda Penebaker (m. 2005–present)


Personal lifeEdit

Penebaker was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1977. Penebaker's mother Joyce[1][2][3] committed suicide by self-inflicted gunshot[4][5] on September 9, 1979.[6][7] He graduated from Marquette University High School in 1996 and received a degree in marketing from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in 2001, where he was a successful athlete in track and field.


Penebaker is an American businessman and entrepreneur in the roofing industry. He has received industry awards such as 2004 Supplier of the Year Award from the Wisconsin Supplier Development Council, Madison FAAIR Award Recipient (Focused Affirmative Action Initiative and Results); Recognizing Accomplishments in Workforce Diversity (2010)[8] and the 2010 Minority Business Contractor of the Year Award from Wisconsin's Daily Reporter.[9][10] He has volunteered as a spokesperson for several crime and safety-oriented organizations, including Moms Demand Action[11] and Everytown for Gun Safety,[12][13] and he is a strong advocate for suicide prevention.

2016 US Congressional campaignEdit

As a member of the Democratic Party, Penebaker[14][15] ran for the United States House of Representatives in Wisconsin's 5th congressional district.[16] The district includes the entirety of Washington and Jefferson counties, and portions of Waukesha, Dodge, Milwaukee, and Walworth counties. Penebaker faced Republican incumbent Jim Sensenbrenner.[17] Penebaker lost to Sensenbrenner, receiving 29.29% of the vote to Sensenbrenner's 66.7%, with 390,844 votes cast.[18]

U.S. House, Wisconsin District 5 General Election, 2016
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
Republican Jim Sensenbrenner Incumbent 66.7% 260,706
Democratic Khary Penebaker 29.29% 114,477
Libertarian John Arndt 3.92% 15,324
Scattering .09% 337
Total votes 390,844
Source: Wisconsin Elections Commission[19]

Gun ownership background checksEdit

Penebaker is an advocate for universal background checks for gun sales, including private and online sales. According to Penebaker, coordinating the federal, state, and local governments with healthcare professionals and insurance providers to establish better long-term mental health care for those who need it. During his campaign, Penebaker pushed to model federal legislation off Wisconsin's recently passed bipartisan domestic violence law, the SAFE Act, to keep guns away from domestic abusers. Penebaker also pushed for firearm restrictions for suspected persons on the federal no-fly list and other terror watch lists, while supporting an appeal process in case a name has been added to such lists in error.[20]

DNC RepresentativeEdit

Penebaker was elected as a Representative to the Democratic National Committee in a June 2017 Special Election. He succeeded fellow Democrat Jason Rae who was appointed Secretary of the Democratic National Committee.


  1. ^ "Joyce Penebaker". 2016.
  2. ^ "New Discoveries Years after a Mother's Suicide". Precious Lives. 2015.
  3. ^ "Joyce Penebaker". Say Enough. 2016.
  4. ^ "Gun control groups emphasize suicides in bid for more public support". CNN. January 12, 2016.
  5. ^ "Wisconsin Congressional Candidate Highlights Mother's Suicide As Need For More Gun Control". Wisconsin Public Radio. November 7, 2016.
  6. ^ Khary Penebaker [@kharyp] (April 28, 2016). "Joyce Penebaker Death Certificate" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  7. ^ "The Loneliest Club". CNN. 2015.
  8. ^ "City of Madison Announces 2010 Public Works Contractor Awards". City of Madison, Wisconsin. January 29, 2010.
  9. ^ Justin Kern. "Quiet confidence". The Daily Reporter. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  10. ^ "Penebaker Enterprises: Wins another award". Wisconsin Business. September 23, 2010.
  11. ^ "I Wish She Would've Held Me Rather than That Gun". Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America. 2015-03-18. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  12. ^ Khary Penebaker - End Gun Violence. Everytown for Gun Safety. December 25, 2015. Retrieved 2017-01-26 – via YouTube.
  13. ^ Khary Penebaker (September 9, 2015). "We know how to prevent gun violence, so why don't we?". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  14. ^ "Political newcomer squares off with Rep. Sensenbrenner". NBC15 WMTV. 20 April 2016.
  15. ^ Keith, Theo (6 March 2016). "Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner draws challenger in Wisconsin's 5th congressional district". FOX6 Now.
  16. ^ "Political newcomer squares off with Rep. Sensenbrenner". NBC15 WMTV. 20 April 2016.
  17. ^ Keith, Theo (6 March 2016). "Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner draws challenger in Wisconsin's 5th congressional district". FOX6 Now.
  18. ^ "Canvass Results for 2016 General Election" (PDF). Wisconsin Elections Commission.
  19. ^ "WEC Canvass Reporting System County by County Report" (PDF). November 23, 2016.
  20. ^ "Congress Fails to Protect America" (PDF). The Wheeler Report. June 23, 2016. Retrieved 2016-09-30.