Kari Barsness Photo

Kari Barsness

Michael Best Strategies LLC


Kari has more than 20 years of experience in public policy and government relations in North Carolina. Throughout her career, she has represented state agencies, private companies, trade organizations, and not-for-profits before the North Carolina General Assembly. She has experience across many industry sectors, including healthcare, environment and natural resources, and education, among others. Her clients appreciate the leadership and energy Kari brings to her work helping them achieve their objectives.

Kari has broad bipartisan relationships across North Carolina state government and the General Assembly. Through her lobbying work, Kari has developed excellent relationships with legislators, legislative staff, state agency leaders, corporate executives, non-profit organizations, and other stakeholders. In addition to the legislative process, she understands how the regulatory process works, and helps her clients effectively navigate these processes. Kari also has in-depth knowledge of the North Carolina state budget, which is beneficial for clients. She has prepared and administered budgets, and has lobbied on behalf of clients for appropriations needs. 

Before joining Strategies, Kari founded and led Barsness Policy Solutions, a successful government relations and policy advisory consulting firm. Previously, Kari was the Legislative Director at Gateway Health, where she developed and implemented legislative initiatives to advance the company’s priorities. In her prior role Kari served as Manager of Policy and Regulatory Affairs at Community Care of North Carolina, where she led policy strategy and regulatory compliance. During her tenure there Kari analyzed and advanced Medicaid reform initiatives. 

Her earlier roles include leadership positions at the North Carolina Office of the Governor, North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (now the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality), and North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management. In these positions Kari spearheaded legislative strategy, conducted policy analysis, handled communications, and developed key relationships across numerous executive and legislative offices.

Professional Activities

  • Member, North Carolina Professional Lobbyist Association Board of Directors
  • Member, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce Government Relations Committee
  • Member, North Carolina State University Public Administration Alumni Society


Community Involvement

  • Member, City of Raleigh Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee



Community Involvement

  • Member, City of Raleigh Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
back to top