By Samantha Nuechterlein
The Women in Politics Making a Difference Awards will recognize 16 outstanding women over the course of a year. Each season—spring, summer, fall and winter—the Women's Legislative Network will profile four women who are making their marks in their legislatures and communities. This is the second of four profiles of the honorees for spring.
Representative Marcy Toepel, Pennsylvania, Republican
Marcy Toepel not only loves her position in the Pennsylvania House but also loves spending time with her large family or taking a break from the stress of session to be outdoors either gardening or in the parks in her county.
Toepel was nominated for her implementation of a Legislator Shadowing Program she organized in partnership with the Montgomery County Community College. It offers a full-day’s insight for young women interested in pursuing a career in public service. Her commitment to her constituents is respected across the state.
What are you most proud of in your time as a legislator?
The most rewarding thing day-to-day is being able to help my constituents. There are a lot of individuals that come to my office for help, and they’re in desperate need. Being able to get answers for them for whatever issue they may be having and to just see the relief on their part that someone was able to help them is just something that I cannot describe.
What was the last book you read that inspired you or that you continued to think of throughout your work?
Well I finally just read "Lean In." There were a lot of little stories in that book that I saw in myself as a women. For example, Sheryl [Sandberg] would walk into a room and find herself taking a seat on the outside, not sitting at the table, and I found myself doing that. Now I am cognizant of that fact, I think about it when I walk into a room. It is a conscious decision now to make myself take a seat at the table and be a part of the conversation. I felt that a lot of the stories in that book were applicable to my life.
If you were to give advice to any young woman across the country graduating from high school, what would that advice be?
No. 1, pursue an education. No matter what field it is in, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a four year college degree, but pursue what your dream is and don’t be afraid to go after it. While you’re doing that, get engaged in the community: Volunteer for a nonprofit, serve on a board, run for a local elected position, volunteer to work on a campaign, understand how our government works. Don't wait to be asked.
Samantha Nuechterlein is staff coordinator for the NCSL Foundation and Member Outreach.