Women In Politics Making a Difference Awards


LogoThe Women's Legislative Network is celebrating the nation's female state legislators with our awards program.

The Women in Politics Making a Difference Awards recognize outstanding women who are making their marks in their legislatures and communities. Nominees are reviewed and selected to ensure that a bipartisan, diverse group of women is profiled.

Read profiles and interviews with the past winners below. 


Meet the 2019 Women in Politics Making a Difference

Rep. Karen CamperHouse Democratic Leader Karen Camper, Tennessee, Democrat

Del. Eileen Filler-CornHouse Minority Leader Eileen Filler-Corn, Virginia, Democrat

Rep. Holly GrangeRepresentative Holly Grange, North Carolina, Republican

Rep. April WeaverRepresentative April Weaver, Alabama, Republican

More information coming soon!

Meet the 2018 Women in Politics Making a Difference

Representative Geran Tarr, Alaska, Democrat

Representative Geran Tarr, Alaska, DemocratAlaska Representative Geran Tarr has had a lifelong interest in community activism and social justice. Before becoming a legislator, she was heavily involved in environmental and women’s issues and spent some time working as a legislative aide. But it was only after a conversation about her future with Representative Sharon Cissna that she considered running for office.

Read more on our blog.

Senator Sara Howard, Nebraska, Democrat

Senator Sara Howard, Nebraska, DemocratNebraska Senator Sara Howard grew up in the district she now serves, but she had never envisioned a life in politics.

“I didn’t really have a political hero growing up because politics was not really my thing,” she says. It wasn’t until she saw her mom, Gwen Howard, who served their district before her, run, win and do the work that politics even seemed to be a possibility. “I think that’s a challenge for many women—we don’t see someone who looks like us doing this work.”

Read more on our blog.

Representative Jeanette Nuñez, Florida, Republican

Representative Jeanette Nuñez, Florida, RepublicanAfter talking with Speaker Pro Tem Nuñez, one thing was clear: She is a passionate leader who is dedicated to serving her community. Recently chosen as the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Florida, anyone who read the glowing nomination we received could imagine Nuñez going on to statewide leadership.

Read more on our blog

Representative Amy Loudenbeck, Wisconsin, Republican

Representative Amy Loudenbeck, Wisconsin, RepublicanRepresentative Amy Loudenbeck defies stereotypes of what a legislator should be like—a one-time firefighter, avid reader (“I have about 20 books on my nightstand at any time”), outdoorswoman and hobby goat farmer. But her path to the legislature was not that uncommon.

Read more on our blog

Meet the 2017 Women in Politics Making a Difference

Senator Yvonne Colomb, Louisiana, Democrat

Sen ColombLoyal … confident… relentless. Those are three of many words that come to mind when I think about Senator Yvonne Colomb.” This was the opening line of Colomb’s nomination for the 2017 Women Making a Difference in Politics Award. Before her election to the Louisiana Senate in 2007, she served 14 years in the House of Representatives and was unanimously elected speaker pro tempore by leadership in 2005. Her district then and now encompasses great socioeconomic diversity—including both major state universities and some of Baton Rouge’s poorest neighborhoods.

Read more on our blog.

Senator Sally Doty, Mississippi, Republican

Sen. DotyRunning for political office was always on Senator Sally Doty’s to-do list. Growing up, she always read the newspaper, and called herself a nerd.  What kept her reading? Stories about Mississippi’s first female elected lieutenant governor, Evelyn Gandy, who Doty now says is one of her political heroes. “[She] put in my mind that politics was something I could do.” 

Read more on our blog.

Senator Karin Housley, Minnesota, Republican

Sen. HousleyGrowing up in Minnesota, Senator Karin Housley never had political aspirations.  She recalls, “I had school teachers for parents that didn’t talk about politics. I moved out of Minnesota when I was 18. My husband (Phil) was in the NHL (former star defenseman and current coach of the Buffalo Sabres) and we moved a lot.”

It wasn’t until she returned to her home state of Minnesota in 2001 and started her own real estate business that she started to see things differently. “In my fourth year [of my real estate business] I started to see issues through a small business lens like where taxes went. I was a complete rookie—I didn’t know anything. But, I knew I needed to run.”

Read more on our blog.

Representative Kay Khan, Massachusetts, Democrat

Rep. KhanRepresentative Kay Khan didn’t take what most would consider the traditional path into politics. As a girl, she was inspired by her mother’s leadership and strong voice in the PTA—a voice that would eventually lead her mother to testify on child nutrition before Senator Hubert Humphrey and Congress. After growing up in this environment of community-focused service, Khan went on to pursue a career in nursing, a background that has served her well in the legislature.

Read more on our blog.

Meet the 2016 Women in Politics Making a Difference

Senator Sue Rezin, Illinois, Republican

Sue RezinAmong Senator Sue Rezin's many accomplishments is establishing the Grundy County summer high school project-based internship program, supporting the local community colleges to implement a curriculum that will directly flood the employment pipeline to the local chemical and energy corridor. Read more on our blog.





Representative Valencia Stovall, Georgia, Democrat

Valencia StovallSpeaking with Representative Valencia Stovall it is easy to see she is passionate about her community and a few targeted passions boil to the surface with vigor. Her commitment to improving education for all students in Georgia, increasing job opportunities for local constituents and overall economic development in her community are all unwavering goals. She has a notable presence in the community, constantly engaging her constituents to keep them at the forefront of her work. Read more on our blog.



Representative Marcy Toepel, Pennsylvania, Republican

Marcy ToepelRepresentative 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. Read more on our blog.



Senator Sandra Williams, Ohio, Democrat

Sandra WilliamsSenator Sandra Williams comes to the Ohio Legislature with an interesting background: She was an administrative assistant in the U.S. Army Reserves, a corrections and probation officer for years in Cleveland, a youth parole officer, and a legislative aide to Representative Annie Key of Cleveland, a background that demonstrates her commitment to the Cleveland community. Williams brings to the Ohio legislature a passion and spunk that is felt by all constituents in Cleveland—from young children attaining a public education to minority and female working populations. Read more on our blog.