She is a former newspaper reporter and editor. In 1980 she switched careers from journalism to politics and was elected a west suburban state representative. In 1984 she was elected a state senator. And in 1994 was elected state treasurer.
Topinka made history by becoming the first treasurer re-elected to three consecutive terms. She was chosen Republican state chairman, And was the 2006 Republican nominee for governor. Now she is the first woman to have served in two Illinois statewide elected offices-- treasurer and comptroller.