Marcy Kaptur: Longtime Representative Looks Back At Her Career

On July 3, Representative Marcy Kaptur was honored for her long service to her hometown of Toledo, as well as the whole of Ohio’s 9th district, by being presented the Key to the City during a meeting of Toledo’s City Council.

“I never expected anything like that, and I’m a proud daughter of the city of Toledo. So, it was really quite a lovely occasion.
Every member of City Council said something overly generous,” Kaptur said.

“It was a great surprise, and I’m just very, very grateful to all those who took the time to do something so generous.”

It has been a landmark time for Kaptur in other ways. Early in the year, the 72-year-old Kaptur officially became the longest-serving woman in the history of the House of Representatives. Currently in her 18th term in office, Kaptur is also the longest-tenured woman in all of Congress.

“You learn every day,” Kaptur said of her time in Washington. “And obviously, with the seniority and the perspective that it brings, you gain measure. You learn how much it takes to accomplish something of national— and sometimes global— significance.”

The world has changed much in the 35 years since Kaptur first took office. When she first ran, women serving in the halls of Congress were rare. When she was young, she applied to join the Air Force, but was denied because she was a woman. She applied to go to Notre Dame, but they didn’t accept women at the time. She wanted to work for the FBI, but was rejected because they didn’t hire women.

“Now all that’s changed,” Kaptur said. “So in my own lifetime, I’ve seen the country make progress— I feel I’ve been a part of that progress. Not just as a woman, but as a human being living in this country.”

Q & A Session

What do you admire in people? Kindness, intelligence, dedication to a task, whatever it might be. Humor.

What is your pet peeve? Oh boy, just one? (laughs) Things that break. Things that cause us undue anxiety, because they don’t function as they should.

What advice would you give to the younger you? Publish the books you want to write sooner!

Who is someone that you’d like to meet? I would have enjoyed meeting Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Together.

What inspires you now? I think achievement — in other words, when you achieve something that kind of gives you added momentum to keep going. I think the support of people — in my business, you can’t do anything without people. And the young people that work for us in our offices— in both Ohio and Washington— their dedication. I see them coming up and trying to grapple with the unfinished business of America.

Favorite food? I have a lot of different favorites. In terms of my own ethnic background, I like Polish Dill Potato Soup. … If you asked my brother what my favorite food is, he’d say, ‘Spaghetti.’ And that’s probably true!

Favorite movie? It’s called ‘Killing Fields,’ and it’s a movie about Cambodia. I’m obviously a political person, and it makes any viewer aware of how politics—- how bad politics— can change your life. You cannot avoid politics. Your absence from it will change your country and your community, your participation in it can help to make your country and community a better place.

Bonus Facts:

I have always wanted to… Own a bakery.
What are the words you live by? Faith.
What is something most people don’t know about you? Figure skating is my favorite sport.

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