Standing before a group of Evergreen Elementary third graders Monday, state Rep. Marcy Toepel got to partake in what she said was one her favorite aspects of her job – going into the community and talking to people.
At the start of her visit, Toepel complimented how the teachers got the students to quiet so quickly – they had to stop talking as they raised two fingers in the air.
“We need to do that Harrisburg … it gets very noisy,” Toepel said.
Toepel told the students about the basic tenets of her job – she’s one of 203 representatives, she represents about 64,000 people, a PA House representative runs for election every two years and that she has been in office for about a year and a half.
She also brought along House Bill 9, the teen driving bill that recently became a law.
“We don’t want to make a law just to write tickets; we want people to be safe drivers.”
She explained how a bill becomes a law (sorry, sans musical accompaniment), noting that it can be a lengthy process, if it makes it at all.
“It’s important to have a balance and not have too many laws. It’s good for it not be too easy for a bill to become a law,” Toepel said.
Once she opened the student Q&A portion of her visit, several tiny hands shot into the air, with some children straining to reach higher as they flapped their palms back and forth.
Many students wanted to know what is the toughest part of her job. Toepel said the amount of information she grapples with is sometimes challenging.
“I have to read a lot of books, all my e-mails and the bills, which can be hundreds of pages long,” she said.
One student elicited a few laughs by asking how much she gets paid. Smiling, Toepel said a state rep can be paid around $82,000 a year, but that she doesn’t make that much.
When asked how it felt to be a state representative, Toepel said it was an honor to represent 64,000 people, and that she gets to learn new things all the time.
Toepel also told the students her “sad news” that she would not be the area’s rep for much longer.
Explaining the results of the census, she said “it (is) one person, one vote,” so districts change to “make it equal” for representation.
Toepel later said she was “really disappointed to be leaving the area, but I’m looking forward to the new changes of a different area.”