Assemblywoman Jill Tolles was elected in November 2016 to serve her first term as a representative for the 25th district, but she is no stranger to the Nevada legislature. Over the last few years Asm. Tolles has been a non-paid lobbyist working on various education issues in the state. Education is important to her not only because she has young children herself but also because she is an adjunct professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. When she saw how poorly the state ranked nationally on education criterion she told her husband, “Either we move to another state or we get involved.”
Prior to her election, Asm. Tolles also became involved with a state task force on child sexual abuse prevention. As a result of her leadership, the task force presented recommendations to the Governor which were incorporated into a bill (SB 394) she personally championed that was unanimously passed in both Nevada chambers.
As a newly elected legislator, Asm. Tolles will be hitting the ground running during her first session beginning in February 2017. She is looking forward to continuing to work on K-12 education issues, specifically looking into reforms and simplifying the burdens on teachers around testing and evaluation of students. Her other top legislative priorities include removing barriers for small businesses and working on sex trafficking issues, bringing a three pronged approach to dealing with traffickers, buyers and victims.
When asked about some of best advice she received during her campaign, Asm. Tolles immediately replied, “Learn to say no.” Since this was her first run for office, she was being invited to many events and had to ask herself, “Is this an issue I really care about, and is it important to the people in my district?” Taking this approach allowed her to focus on her district and prioritize both family time and campaign demands.
Asm. Tolles was happy to share two pieces of advice for other women looking to get involved in public service. She advised, “Don’t assume someone else out there will do it; be the one to step up and do it!” Tolles also recommended to “Feel the fear, and do it anyway.” Asm. Tolles said that women tend to second guess themselves and that while those feelings are normal, if women press through, those fears don’t ever become reality.
Asm. Tolles was especially touched to be on the ballot this election cycle, as it’s been 100 years since the first woman, Jeanette Rankin, was elected to Congress in 1916. She said, “Thanks to her (Rankin) efforts, along with many other women, we are benefitting from the right to vote in 2016.” She was thrilled to share her first election with her oldest daughter, who proudly accompanied her to the voting booth.
About Future WIG
Women In Government supports women of all ages in leadership roles, and is working hard to ensure that young women are given the resources and mentorship they need in order to achieve their goals. This program takes place at WIG Regional conferences, where WIG asks women state legislators and leaders in the private sector to encourage young women across the country to pursue leadership roles. This program is made possible by Southwest Airlines.