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Toepel Announces Retirement
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Marcy Toepel's run in the Pennsylvania General Assembly will end in approximately one year. On Tuesday Toepel, a Republican who has served the 147th District in the House of Representatives since 2010, announced her retirement.

            Toepel wants to spend more time with her family. For most retiring politicians, the explanation has evolved into a euphemism. However, the Douglass Township resident says her decision to leave the legislature at the end of 2020 is based solely on desire to enjoy her five adult children and 12 grandchildren.

            "I've missed a lot of Grandparent's Days," said the legislator, who turns 62 in 2020. "I've been thinking about this for a long time. It's time to move on."

            When Toepel leaves the House in 12 months, she will have represented the district – which includes Douglass, New Hanover, Upper Frederick, Lower Frederick, Marlborough, Upper Salford and Lower Salford townships, as well as Green Lane and Schwenksville boroughs – for 10 ½ years.

            Besides rising to a leadership position in the House Republican Caucus, she has registered several notable legislative accomplishments, according to a news release issued by her office. They include the Brad Fox Law, which restored a five-year minimum sentence for those convicted of making repeat straw purchases of firearms; the preservation of open space, including helping to save Stone Leigh in Montgomery County from eminent domain; protection for victims of child pornography, with enhanced sentencing guidelines for those convicted on child pornography charges; securing $3.35 million to date from the Valley Forge Casino to benefit Montgomery County parks, trails and historic sites as well as child advocacy centers and domestic abuse shelters along with the creation of the first Rare Disease Advisory Council in Pennsylvania, which is now becoming a national model.

            "This is clearly the hardest job I've ever had," she said Tuesday night. "And the most satisfying."

            However, Toepel says she is most proud of staying true to her values and representing constituents. She called it best part of the job.

            "I met so many great people in the district," Toepel said Tuesday night. "I'm going to miss them."

            In June of 2010, she arrived in Harrisburg amid budget deliberations after winning a special election to fill a seat vacated by Bob Mensch, who won a similar state Senate election to replace the retiring Rob Wonderling. Within moments after being sworn, Toepel quickly found herself seated at her desk on the House floor voting on budget bills related to the stalemate between Gov. Ed Rendell and the legislature.

            State Rep. Kate Harper, another Montgomery County legislator, showed her how to turn on her computer. Toepel said she relied on an administrative assistant to find the committee rooms.

            "I was thrown into the deep end of the pool," she said. "It was quite an experience. The first year was pretty difficult."

            Eventually, Toepel got used to the flow of the job, which included learning about a bill in the committee process before it reached the House floor. She said she's gotten better at sorting out relative details from multiple stakeholders on any piece of legislation.

            "We get bombarded with information on any one issue," Toepel said. "You have to let some things go."

            Meanwhile, the legislator worked hard to balance her legislative duties and campaigning. Running every two years, Toepel won five General Elections during her term. Initially, she won a Special Election, Primary and General Election during a six-month period.

            Toepel rose to a leadership position, becoming the first woman in either major political party from Montgomery County to achieve that goal. Since 2016, she has served as the majority chairman of the House Republican Caucus, where she is responsible for updating the rank-and-file members on legislation.

            In her final 12 months on the job, Toepel hopes to shepherd a bill she sponsored to promote government transparency through the state Senate. According to the legislator, HB 1803 would require any settlements paid with taxpayer funds be posted on PennWATCH, a searchable budget database-driven website detailing taxpayer expenditures and investments. She said opaque payouts made last year over claims of sexual harassment and similar misconduct inspired the bill, which has already passed the House.

            "This has been the greatest honor," Toepel said. "I've gotten to do some amazing things."





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