Bob Kaplan serves in Councilor Position No. 4 through December 2026.
Bob was born in New York’s Hudson Valley, the middle of five children. His family moved to North Carolina when he was 12 years old. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received a Bachelor's degree in public policy analysis – and that’s where he met his wife, Lorrie! They served together in the Peace Corps in a small village in rural Paraguay. He worked on water and sanitation issues, and Lorrie was a health educator. After returning home with their first child, he completed a Master’s degree
in Public Affairs at Princeton University.
Bob's career has been dedicated to addressing the root causes of poverty, inequity, social exclusion, and environmental degradation in Latin America. Over more than two decades leading teams at the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank, he learned how to craft workable solutions to a wide range of social, economic, and environmental challenges. During the last six years of the Obama administration, he had the honor of serving as head of the Inter-American Foundation, a small federal agency dedicated to supporting Latin American community organizations working to help their communities thrive.
After living near Washington, DC for 30 years, and with his two kids fully fledged, Lorrie and Bob were ready for something new. They spent eight months seeing the country in a pickup truck – camping almost every night, and hiking, biking, or kayaking almost every non-driving day. They chose to move to Ashland in 2019 because it’s a community that aligns with their values. They love this small city with so many interesting people, abundant culture, and a university, surrounded by incredible natural beauty, and easy access to delicious, fresh local food.
Before joining the Council, Bob served on Ashland’s Citizens Budget Committee and Climate Policy Commission. He has been a volunteer, and then board member with OHRA, which operates a community resource center and temporary shelter on Ashland Street; a volunteer with Uneté, where he co-taught the US citizenship exam in Spanish; and a volunteer on the reading committee of the Ashland New Plays Festival. He continues to serve on the boards of the Ashland Food Co-op and Semilla Nueva, a non-profit dedicated to eradicating micronutrient malnutrition in Guatemala.
Bob speaks Spanish and Portuguese. He loves riding his bike, hiking, canoeing, reading literature and poetry, making homemade pizza and fresh pasta, and talking with people wherever he meets them.
He is honored and humbled by the trust you’ve placed in him, and is determined to do the very best he can for all Ashlanders. As your City Councilor, you can always count on him to do his homework, ask questions and listen attentively, act with integrity, and stay focused on solutions.
Boards, Committees, & Commissions