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February 27, 2020

Alum in Politics Series: Representative Martina White

Martina White graduated from Elizabethtown College in 2010, and she currently serves as a State Representative for Pennsylvania’s 170th Legislative District.

Before her election to public office in 2015, White worked as a financial advisor.

Having graduated from Etown with a B.S. in Business Administration and dual focuses in finance and marketing, White said she feels that the College’s business professors had a significant influence on her professional development and later entry into politics.

“Every time I talk about Etown and my experience there, I always bring up the professors from the business program,” she said. “The program was very robust; the professors were great. They weren’t solely professors; they had experience in the fields that they were teaching. I loved that they were passionate about teaching and passionate about their subject matter. It all gave me a lot to think about in regard to my future.”

White’s experience as a business student benefited her in tangible ways right after graduation, as she worked as a financial advisor until her election to public office in 2015.

As a financial advisor, White helped people navigate their retirement plans, savings and investments.

White attributed much of her professional success to her time as a business student.

She said she feels that one of the things that benefited her the most was the focus her professors put on public speaking.

A required element of nearly every class she took, White said that the confidence she gained through class presentations and discussions helped her “get a little bit prepared for what [she’s] doing now,” serving others and making the voices of those in her community heard.

During her relatively short time as a State Representative, White has found a multitude of important projects to work on.

Serving as the chair of the Pennsylvania House’s task force for transportation, White has been doing research to discover how the State can better fund its transportation infrastructure.

Currently, White and her team are working to identify the worst road, bridge and infrastructure issues in Pennsylvania and discover reasons behind the shortfalls in funding.

Having been a resident of Philadelphia her entire life, White is well-acquainted with the city and understands many of her community members’ concerns very well.

She said she hopes to pass legislation in the near future meant to protect her 65,000 residents from the scourge of gun violence in Philadelphia.

White is seeking a 10-year minimum sentence for those caught with illegal firearms or convicted of violent crimes.

Recognizing the importance of community involvement and awareness, she frequently sits down with community members to directly hear their concerns.

White gave an important piece of advice for students who hope to one day enter into politics.

“There’s no reason to wait until you’ve graduated from college to get started. You can do so immediately by contacting your local public official and getting an internship in their office,” she said. “For whichever side of the field you’d want to get involved in, either campaigning or direct involvement, there are so many ways to get hands-on experience before you graduate. Getting involved as a student is a good way to discover whether politics is really something you’re interested in doing.”

Drawing on what she observed from business professors here at Elizabethtown, White placed special emphasis on passion.

“Find something you’re passionate about. I think it’s something important for students to do across the board. I love what I’m doing, talking to people, hearing their stories and serving them however they might need.”

Elizabethtown’s motto of “Educate for Service” surely stuck with White, as she has dedicated her life beyond graduation to serving her community.

Read more from the original publication HERE.

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