state senator zahra karinshak
Georgia State Senate District 48
Service: U.S. Air Force
Senator Karinshak was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but spent most of her childhood in LaFayette (Walker County) Georgia where she attended LaFayette High School. She is the oldest of five children from a family of very limited means.
In 1985, Zahra was fortunate to earn the opportunity to attend the United States Air Force Academy. While there, Zahra was a soaring instructor pilot, served on Wing and Group Command leadership staffs, and ran on the Cross Country team. Upon graduation in 1989, Zahra received a B.S. in International Affairs, with a Minor Degree in Arabic, and was recognized as the Top Graduate in Law. She was commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force and became an intelligence officer.
Zahra's military service took her all over the world. In the military, Zahra was recognized as the Air Force Intelligence Command, Pacific, Company Grade Officer of the Year and was the top graduate from intelligence school, with the highest academic average in the course's history. Zahra also supported OPERATION DESERT STORM (nondeployed) and served on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) Task Force for the Strategic Defense Initiative (also known as “Star Wars”). During her military service, Zahra received many awards, to include the Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
After her military service, Zahra pursued her dream of becoming a lawyer. To do so, Zahra returned to her home state of Georgia, where she attended Emory University School of Law and graduated with honors.
Zahra has enjoyed a wide variety of legal experience from working with judges, working at a large law firm, and now working as an owner (with her Partners) of a mid-sized law firm where she has helped taxpayers recover millions of dollars from companies who commit fraud against us. She is considered a top lawyer in Georgia and her peers have ranked her as a top 100 Georgia Super Lawyer.
Zahra also served as a lawyer for Georgia Governor Roy E. Barnes where she helped change the Georgia flag, among other achievements. After that, Zahra served as a federal prosecutor in Atlanta for eight years where she successfully prosecuted cases involving fraud, public corruption, violent crime, child exploitation, human trafficking, sex trafficking, and other crimes.
Zahra's father emigrated to this country and her mother is a native of LaFayette, Georgia. Two of her four siblings have also served in the military, to include combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Zahra has been married to Bruce Karinshak for 26 years. Bruce works for the Coca-Cola Company, and is a West Point graduate who served in the United States Army as a Combat Engineer (Airborne Ranger qualified). They have two teenage daughters and have lived in Lawrenceville since 1994. They are active members of their church and are involved in many charitable activities in our community.