CSG Capitol Ideas | 2023 | Issue 4

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Meet the 2023 CSG Henry Toll Fellows These outstanding leaders from throughout the nation are making a big difference in their states.

Congrats to the 2023 CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award Recipients These young leaders are pursuing their passion for public service and making an impact.


Special Edition

Celebrate 90 years with us! Founded in 1933, The Council of State Governments connects, informs, inspires and empowers state leaders to advance the common good.


2023 CSG NATIONAL CONFERENCE RALEIGH, NC | DEC. 6–9 Special thanks to 2023 CSG National Chair and Dean of the North Carolina House Julia Howard as well as North Carolina Speaker Tim Moore, North Carolina Senate President Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

Gov. John Carney

Rep. Julia Howard

DELAWARE CSG National President



Graphic Designers

DAVID ADKINS dadkins@csg.org

THERESA CARROLL tcarroll@csg.org

Senior Editor

STEPHANIE NORTHERN snorthern@csg.org

BLAIR HESS bhess@csg.org

Managing Editor CODY PORTER cporter@csg.org

JESSICA RUSHER jrusher@csg.org

Email capitolideas@csg.org

Associate Editors TREY DELIDA tdelida@csg.org MPP Ted Arnott

MPP Jamie West



LEXINGTON SOUERS lsouers@csg.org

CSG CAPITOL IDEAS, ISSN 2152-8489, Issue 4, Vol. 79, No. 1 – Published four times annually by The Council of State Governments, 1776 Avenue of the States, Lexington, KY 40511-8536. Opinions expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Council of State Governments nor the views of the editorial staff. Readers’ comments are welcome. Mailing lists are available for rent upon approval of a sample mailing. Contact the sales department at (800) 800-1910. Copyright 2023 by The Council of State Governments.

Sen. Roger Victory MICHIGAN CSG Midwest Chair

Lt. Gov. Craig Blair Senate President WEST VIRGINIA CSG South Chair

An accessible version of this publication is available upon request. Please email capitolideas@csg.org.

STAY CONNECTED twitter.com/CSGovts facebook.com/CSGovts Assemblymember Mike Gipson CALIFORNIA CSG West Chair

linkedin.com/company/council-of-state-governments instagram.com/csgovts youtube.com/CSGovts

David Adkins CSG EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/CEO dadkins@csg.org

David Biette

Lindsey Gray

CSG EAST DIRECTOR dbiette@csg.org

CSG SOUTH DIRECTOR lgray@csg.org

Laura Tomaka

Edgar Ruiz

CSG MIDWEST DIRECTOR ltomaka@csg.org

CSG WEST DIRECTOR eruiz@csg.org

Megan Quattlebaum CSG JUSTICE CENTER DIRECTOR mquattlebaum@csg.org




16 F E AT U R E S


CSG IN 2023

14 C S G 2 0 2 4 P R E V I E W 40 F I N A L FA C T S

28 6 A Message from the CSG

16 2023 CSG 20 Under 40

Executive Director/CEO

Leadership Award

On Oct. 22, 1933, as many as 15 state legislators convened at the Penn Harris Hotel in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as part of a shared interest in introducing harmony among the states. CSG Executive Director/CEO David Adkins addressed this meeting and the growth of CSG in a message recognizing the organization’s 90th birthday.

Each year, CSG honors 20 rising leaders dedicated to serving their community and working across the aisle to create change. Meet the recipients of this year’s award and learn more about what, or who, inspires their work.

8 CSG Celebrates 90 Years In October, CSG celebrated its 90th year. Founded in 1933 through the vision of Henry Wolcott Toll, the organization has long pursued the advancement of common good in state government. An overarching theme during each of those years has been the ability of CSG to unify state leaders to improve policy.

10 A Q&A with Douglas ISSUE 4 2023 | CSG CAPITOL IDEAS



CSG welcomes Douglas Brinkley as its plenary speaker at the 2023 CSG National Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. Brinkley is a presidential scholar and history professor at Rice University. He joined CSG ahead of the conference to discuss his personal history and what studying presidents teaches us about leadership.

28 The Henry Toll Fellowship: CSG Founder Helps Shape Policymakers Past, Present Since 1986, the Henry Toll Fellowship has been an essential part of CSG outreach initiatives. The annual gathering has strived to accelerate growth for each selected participant in their roles as state leaders and public servants. To date, the Henry Toll Fellowship program has vetted more than 1,370 alumni that have gone on to illustrious careers in public policy and beyond.

30 The Henry Toll Fellowship Class of 2023 Honoring CSG founder Henry Toll, the Toll Fellowship annually convenes a select group of state leaders for an intensive fiveday leadership boot camp. This year’s class is comprised of 43 individuals representing 27 states and U.S. territories and from across all branches of government. The class of 2023 gathered in Lexington, Kentucky, from Aug. 16-20.

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CS G i n 202 3 As a national organization with a regional focus, The Council of State Governments is comprised of many moving parts, with expansive work addressing policy areas and initiatives that span all 50 states, U.S. territories and international partnerships with Canadian provinces. Members from East to West participate in this growing community by exchanging information and ideas at a number of organized national and regional meetings. Take a look at some of this year's more notable happenings related these convenings across CSG.

DOL Continues Funding of CSG-led CAPE-Youth to Support Disabled Youth Employment Initiatives The U.S. Department of Labor announced the $7.5 million, five-year continuation of the Center for Advancing Policy on Employment for Youth (CAPE-Youth) in September. This policy center was established by the Office of Disability Employment Policy in 2019 to enhance national, state and local workforce systems focusing on improved outcomes for youth with disabilities, especially those from underserved communities. CSG oversees the development and management of CAPE-Youth.

Teacher Compact is Activated with Adoption by 10th State


The Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact became active in June with Oregon’s enactment of legislation to join the compact. Model compact legislation released to the states by the CSG National Center for Interstate Compacts in November 2022 required a minimum of 10 states to join the compact prior to its activation. Earlier this year, the compact was adopted by Colorado, Utah, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Kansas, Florida, Alabama, Nebraska and Nevada. Next steps for member states include the nomination of commissioners, who will then convene to draft compact rules and bylaws at their first official meeting.


LENS Program Commenced as Nonpartisan Staff Adapt to Changing Environments Dramatic shifts in workforce structure and operations during the pandemic resulted in nonpartisan staff having to navigate a changing legislative environment with more pronounced challenges around recruitment and retention. To promote dialogue and leadership development among fundamental state government institutions, CSG West convened the first-ever cohort of the Leadership Excellence for Nonpartisan Staff (LENS) program this fall, featuring 30 staff members from around the Western region. The program curriculum included 10 online classes and was designed to equip nonpartisan staff with critical leadership skills to advance in their careers, empower participants to strengthen and protect legislative institutions, and develop interstate networks to support the sharing of resources and best practices.

Colorado River Forum Advanced Dialogue Around the West’s Vital Water Resources With current water agreements set to expire in 2026, dialogue and collaboration among Colorado River Basin states is critical for the sustainability of the region. Since 2021, the CSG West Colorado River Forum has provided state legislators in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming the opportunity to review and discuss the most consequential issues facing the Colorado River Basin. This year’s forum took place Sept. 12-15 in Pinedale, Wyoming, where members and water experts examined topics in Colorado River system hydrology, flood irrigation, new federal investments in the region, industrial water use, approaches to conservation, and considerations for the basin’s future governance.

CSG Associates Organize Recovery Efforts Following Hawaii Wildfires The devastating early August wildfires in Maui, Hawaii, were fueled by the arrival of Hurricane Dora, a category four storm. On Aug. 8, the fire’s blazes spread, making parts of the island nearly unrecognizable. Many CSG Associate members — including Amazon, AT&T, CUNA, Honda and Teladoc Health — took action to help those that were displaced and impacted by the natural disaster. Aid in the form of monetary donations, supplies, health care and network services have all been implemented to support Hawaii.

Bob Budd, executive director of the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, discusses ecological factors influencing the Upper Green River Basin near Big Piney, Wyoming, during the Colorado River Forum in September. Photo credit: Jonathan Lennartz

Emerging PFAS Issues Prompt Regional Collaboration and Summit From Annapolis, Maryland, to Augusta, Maine, legislators are relaying stories of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in their communities, a problem that is only just now beginning to be understood in capitol buildings around the region. These “forever chemicals” are drawing more attention from regulators at every level of government. Following a high-energy roundtable discussion at the 2023 Annual Meeting, which was held Aug. 20-23 in Toronto, CSG East is working with members to host a summit in 2023-24 to share information and emerging ideas in PFAS legislation and enforcement, and bring all stakeholders and experts to the table.

Addressing the Housing Crisis The CSG Eastern region is facing a housing crisis with leaders in most jurisdictions focused on solutions. As affordability problems converge with insufficient supply, housing needs are going unmet in cities and rural areas alike. Innovative legislation is being introduced to address most jurisdictions underlying issues, including zoning reform, home repairs and development incentives. CSG East is rolling out a new slate of housing programming in 2024 and has hired a dedicated housing policy analyst. Learn more by emailing Joseph Shiovitz at jshiovitz@csg.org.

2023 BILLD Class, CSG Midwest

CSG Midwest Welcomes 28th BILLD Class Five days of learning, leadership development and relationship building marked the experience of lawmakers taking part in the CSG Midwestern Legislative Conference’s 28th annual Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development. The 2023 BILLD program was held Aug. 18-22 in Madison, Wisconsin, with participation from a bipartisan, binational group of legislators from across the Midwest in their first four years of service. Fellows are selected via a competitive application process overseen by the MLC’s BILLD Steering Committee.

Leveraging Learning Loss: A Public Policy Solution Legislators and staff from 12 Southern states gathered in Atlanta Sept. 2628 to learn more about the pandemic-exacerbated decline in test scores and student performance. Attendees heard from the Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee Departments of Education on innovative uses of federal funds to support learning acceleration and recovery. Participants ended the Masterclass by breaking into small working groups and identifying critical issues for the CSG South Education Committee to examine moving forward, including academic supports for families, mathematics instruction and addressing the use of AI in education.

Jennifer Keesmaat, CEO of The Keesmaat Group, moderates a housing plenary in August during the 2023 CSG East Annual Meeting in Toronto. Photo credit: Legislative Assembly of Ontario

Ohio Sen. Reineke Introduced as New CSG MLC Chair

The Opioid Crisis: Understanding and Addressing the Public Health Emergency

In late 2023, Ohio Sen. Bill Reineke became chair of the CSG Midwestern Legislative Conference, the bipartisan, binational group of all legislators from 11 states in the region and the province of Saskatchewan. The provinces of Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan are affiliate members. In 2024, Reineke will be joined on the four-person leadership team by Saskatchewan Speaker Randy Weekes, first vice chair; Minnesota Sen. Mary Kunesh, second vice chair; and Michigan Sen. Roger Victory, immediate past chair.

According to the CDC, opioid-involved deaths increased 38% from 2019 to 2020, with the CSG South region being hit particularly hard. Working to learn more about the impact and support needed to address this issue, 23 members and staff from the South convened in Kansas City, Missouri, from Oct. 10-12 to hear from experts in the fields of pharmacology, recovery, counseling and medicine. Participants also learned more about the opioid crisis' impact on state court systems, youth brain development and local health systems.


CSG South Policy Masterclass on Leveraging Learning Loss. Photo credit: Anne Brody


Celebrating 90 Years of Advancing the Common Good A MESSAGE FROM THE CSG EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/CEO By David Adkins, CSG Executive Director/CEO

Dear friends: From its first meeting 90 years ago in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, The Council of State Governments has been a force for good. At its core, CSG is a community of the states.


The founders of CSG had a simple goal in mind when they created the organization: advancing harmony among the states. Their focus at the founding of CSG remains our focus today. We work as a nonpartisan organization to connect, inform, inspire and empower state officials to advance the common good.


We know we have stronger states and a stronger nation when state leaders learn from one another; when they have access to researchdriven, actionable policy options; when best practices are identified and shared; and when the voice of the states is heard in Washington, D.C. Throughout the past nine decades, CSG adapted and evolved to maintain its prominence and resiliency. Like most great endeavors, the success of CSG is fueled by leadership. Over the years, our organization has been led by hundreds of talented public servants at both the regional and national levels. Their guidance helps CSG pursue the policy priorities of the states, and their leadership — individually and collectively — makes CSG what it is today. From its start, CSG has been sustained by the annual dues appropriated by the states. While CSG returns to the states six dollars of value for every

dollar of state dues paid, we remain grateful stewards of the public funds entrusted to us. One of the greatest strengths of CSG is its regional structure. While CSG has always been a national organization, over 75 years ago, CSG leaders began to see the need for regionally-based forums to focus on issues common to the states of each region. To underscore the importance of its regions, CSG allocates 60% of the dues received from each state to support the work of that state’s CSG region. I remain in awe of the many ways the regions have grown to meet the needs of state officials and helped CSG advance its mission. Another factor that sets CSG apart is our belief that public policy challenges can be best understood and addressed when officials from all three branches of government work together. By bringing executive branch officials together with those in the judicial and legislative branches, CSG helps states achieve success. This three-branch approach was top of mind 20 years ago when CSG created its Justice Center as a national program to assist state leaders in all three branches who are working to enhance public safety and improve justice systems. This initiative has grown to become a respected “go-to” resource for the states on criminal justice issues helping states improve outcomes and use resources wisely. I know first-hand the impact CSG has on state officials. While I have the honor of serving as the ninth executive director and CEO of CSG, I’m the

first to have served in a state legislature. During my 12-year tenure in both legislative chambers, I became a better public servant because of CSG. I benefited from CSG leadership development programs, its research resources such as The Book of the States and Shared State Legislation, and from the insights and perspectives of other state leaders I met with through CSG. The challenges of running for and serving in public office are great, but I thought of CSG as a welcoming support system and as a family. I still cherish the friendships forged through CSG.

officials put into action the best ideas from America’s laboratories of democracy. While we can be proud of all that CSG has achieved, I remain convinced the best days for CSG are yet to be. For the full promise of that future to be realized, we must continue to strive mightily to create a more perfect Union, ensuring that government of the people, by the people and for the people will endure. I look forward to sharing that journey with you.

CSG has flourished and thrived with the help of many partners, sponsors and funders through the years. These investments help deepen our footprint, extend our reach and broaden our impact.


David Adkins

We know that we have stronger states and a stronger nation when state leaders learn from one another; when they have access to research-driven, actionable policy options; when best practices are identified and shared; and when the voice of the states is heard in Washington, D.C.”


For nearly 250 years, America has been on a journey to fulfill the purpose of our Constitution to create a more perfect Union. For 90 of those years, CSG has championed excellence in state government, helping state

Happy 90th birthday, CSG, and many more!



A newly completed building in Chicago at 1313 E 60th St. officially became the location of CSG Headquarters on April 16, 1938.


By Trey Delida

Though there is no official record of the meeting, Henry Toll recalled it nearly 25 years later as the conception of CSG.

For 90 years, The Council of State Governments has pursued the advancement of common good in state government. CSG is among some of public policy's most influential nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations that represent state and local government.

“Probably 12 or 15 of us sat around a table in a small room,” Toll said. “The Council of State Governments had never been heard of before that day.”

It all began in 1925 when Henry Wolcott Toll, who was then a Colorado state senator, envisioned an organization that would convene state leaders and improve legislative standards — together. The result of that vision was the American Legislators Association, the first iteration of what would soon become The Council of State Governments. As the organization gained traction, interstate issues became more prevalent. Toll knew to achieve his original vision, the scope of his organization had to include the federal government and state administrative officials. In a letter to ALA board members, Toll wrote that the ALA’s role was evolving and that it was no longer a service organization solely for legislators. Simultaneously, ALA engaged in undertaking “an attempt for harmony in state activities between state and state, and between state and nation.” It wasn’t until Oct. 22, 1933, when a group of state legislators gathered at the Penn Harris Hotel in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, that CSG was born.

That same meeting brought forth the Articles of Organization for this newfound, nonpartisan organization. One sentence from those articles stated, “In thousands of instances the laws of the states are in conflict, their practices are discordant, their regulations are antagonistic, and their policies are either competitive or repugnant to one another. Such disharmony cannot continue.” By 1939, the organization had reached national acclaim for its collaborative nature and efficiency. On Jan. 20, 1939, The New York Times published an editorial noting how CSG successfully facilitated an interstate compact between New Jersey and New York, which established joint authority over the Palisades Interstate Park. “Notice the fitness of the machinery for the job. The commission members of state legislatures will look after the necessary laws. The administrative members will execute them. CSG is a practical machine of information and action, highly useful in a day of complex problems,” the editorial read.

90 years of service 56 member states and territories 20+ affiliated organizations 1,300+ Toll Fellows

regional offices that enable it to, in a more focused way, identify and help policymakers deal with issues that are not national in nature, but may be regional or Interstate. The capability to have a broad national view, but also the more focused regional perspective sets CSG apart from the other organizations that serve state officials.” One of Stenberg’s first big projects was the 50th anniversary of CSG, a pivotal moment in the organization's history as it was the first national convening of all regions and affiliated organizations. “I believe it was Dec. 5, 1983,” he said. “Until that time, CSG National had not held annual conferences in a very long time, but the 50th anniversary was kind of a pilot. It was well attended with representatives from all three branches, and it was a terrific substantive program.” As a newcomer to the organization, Stenberg wondered if bringing everyone together at the end of each year added value to CSG for members and affiliates. The event proved to be so well-received that it morphed from an anniversary celebration to the annual convening now known as the CSG National Conference.

80+ Shared State Legislation programs

“When I look back and think of some of the ways I left CSG as a better organization, having an annual conference served a number of important purposes. Not being in Washington, D.C., it was hard to maintain the national visibility for the CSG headquarters office. Having an annual meeting that was moved around the country was one way to do that.”

53 volumes of The Book of the States

The Council of State Governments has undoubtedly grown, advanced and changed over the course of 90 years. Some of the problems faced in the nation’s statehouses today are resonant of the issues CSG aided leaders with in its early years, while others were unheard of even a decade ago. However, much of the organization’s origins in state stewardship, advancing democracy and the common good remain. So, what’s next?

The piece also noted the assistance of CSG in ending a 55-year-old question between eight states on the regulation of fishing in the Great Lakes. Throughout the organization’s history, CSG has consistently played an integral role in uniting state legislatures, notably during the dawn of World War II. In 1940, CSG members met with federal officials at the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration to craft plans to aid states in developing legislation that helped fuel federal government defense efforts near the onset of World War II. As a result, the CSG Suggested State Legislation Committee, now referred to as Shared State Legislation, was developed. Throughout the war, CSG united state defense councils, administered the Selective Service System, and established state guards to offset the shortage of National Guard members who were called into federal services. It was around this time that CSG had become a notable force in the policy world. Toll and his 15-member staff established a headquarters in Chicago, with an additional office space in New York City.

In 1983, Carl W. Stenberg III came on as executive director of the organization. “It is an organization that represents all three branches of government, not just one of them,” Stenberg said. “No other organization has that reach. CSG is a regionally based, national organization. It is unique in that it has a national office and Washington presence, but it also has four

“It is an organization that represents all three branches of government, not just one of them. No other organization has that reach.”

C AR L STEN B E R G CSG Executive Director (1983-89)


After the war, CSG continued to broaden its service area through the expansion of its regional presence. While the Eastern Regional Conference had already been developed in 1935, by the mid-1940s, organizational leaders across the nation had established regional conferences in the Midwest, South and West. As the regions began to take root, the scope of CSG services expanded. In 1969, under Executive Director Frank Bane, CSG relocated its headquarters to its current location in Lexington, Kentucky.

“When someone asks me what the future holds for CSG, my answer is simple: We will continue to do what we have always done,” said David Adkins, who joined as executive director/CEO in 2008 and has led CSG through the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic. “We will focus on the priorities state officials tell us are important to them; we will provide objective, nonpartisan analysis of public policy issues; we will be a source of trusted data and information; we will provide state officials with meaningful ways to learn from each other; and we will fiercely defend the role of the states in our federal system. Like always, we will adapt to changing conditions, find new ways to accomplish our mission and be responsive to the states we serve.”


A Q&A with Douglas Brinkley A


merican historian, best-selling author will address the 2023 csg national conference


By Lexington Souers

Brinkley, who is the Katherine Tsanoff Brown chair in humanities and professor of history at Houston’s Rice University, has previously worked at the U.S. Naval Academy and Princeton and Hofstra Universities. He is also on the board of the National Archives Foundation, the Library of Congress and the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library. Brinkley edited the diaries of former President Ronald Reagan upon receiving them from former first lady Nancy Reagan, and he also edited Hunter S. Thompson’s work as his literary executor. The written work of Brinkley covers military, presidential and environmental history, among other topics. Six of his books were named New York Times “Notable Books of the Year” and seven were New York Times bestsellers. Brinkley is also the recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Book Award for “The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” as well as Fordham University’s Ann M. Sperber Prize for his 2012 biography of Walter Cronkite.

Can you tell us a little about your history? Brinkley: My mother and father were teachers. My dad went into

business, but my mom was an English teacher at the high school I was at. I went to the Ohio State University, majoring in history. I then got a fellowship and earned my master’s and doctorate at Georgetown University. I started teaching for different stints at the U.S. Naval Academy, Princeton, Hofstra University and in New Orleans at Tulane. I’m now at Rice University.

Nothing pulls the national story together like presidents because it’s all 50 states. There’s no better way to think about modern politics than looking at the strands and past U.S. political history. People will use history and political history to go back in time and see if there’s anything analogous to what’s happening at the current moment.

My first book was on Dean Acheson, a very proven secretary of state. My second book was “Driven Patriot” on James Forrestal, who was our secretary of the Navy during World War II. So, I began by doing quite a bit of military and cold war strategy in my career, but I evolved into doing a lot on presidential history. For fun, I write music and pop culture from time to time.

How have great presidents been molded by their environments or other great leaders? How have you seen that play out?

Do you have any early memories of presidents? Brinkley: I have memories of the 1960s. I remember very distinctly

the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson and the Vietnam War. I even have drawings I did at 6 and 7 years old of the Vietnam War. I remember exactly where and what I was feeling when I saw Robert F. Kennedy get killed at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. In life, I’ve gotten personally to know so many presidents over the years. I know former President Jimmy Carter really well — I wrote a book about him. I knew former President Gerald Ford well. Former first lady Nancy Reagan gave me all of former President Ronald Reagan’s diaries to keep, and I edited those and on and on.

Brinkley: I grew up in Ohio and we used to call our state the mother

of presidents. When I had field trips, we would go to the birthplace of Ulysses S. Grant and the home of Rutherford B. Hayes, the tomb of William McKinley and so on. I was really interested in those trips because: A., they were field trips away from school, but B., I really found all that history interesting.

a love for the land or love for where they find a spiritual connection to nature. What experience in the natural world have you connected to? If you ask that question and look back at other presidents, you will see presidents that got solace from the ocean like John F. Kennedy, or from the land like Lyndon Johnson did in the Texas Hill Country, Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, George Washington at Mount Vernon, or Jimmy Carter, who’s still alive with us, from Georgia and knows every nook and cranny of the landscape. I think it helps keep you grounded.

CSG members are involved in all three branches of state government. What can they learn from looking at past presidents? Brinkley: Overall, it’s a good idea to talk quickly and truthfully to

your constituents. Presidents, Senate leaders and congressional leaders who are successful are truth tellers. They have to really tell their voting public exactly what’s going on. By and large, if you can really shoot straight to your constituents, you are going to live a valuable life in your community and beyond — even if for some reason you lose. Look at Jimmy Carter losing to Ronald Reagan in 1980. Wait until Carter passes. The whole world is going to be talking about the integrity of Carter. He was a good person. It’s a legacy you can be proud of because it’s clean.


As you decided what to center your career around, why did you focus much of your work on presidents?

Brinkley: I always find that a great leader and great Americans have


Have you learned any lessons about leadership, or different leadership styles, from studying presidents? Brinkley: First, you have to have a genuine love for the United States.

Love your country equally; recognize whenever you see the grave of a fallen hero. Use your imagination and think about what it would have been like in the Korean War and to have been killed, or have been hit by a sniper in Guam and World War II, or shot dead at the beaches of Normandy. The list is long. Really have a historical memory of the cost to build a country like the United States. The more you go abroad and the more you leave the United States, the more you find something sacred about U.S. airspace. When you enter our country, you realize “I’m home” and it’s important to try to get back to the point where we like everybody and —if you’re an American — that’s the club and we take care of our own. We’re not going to demonize somebody in America because they have a different point of view than mine.

Do you find any misconceptions in the study of political leaders from either your students or people at large? Brinkley: Now, it’s a little harder because we’re trying to open up

the American narrative on gender and race. When you’re dealing with presidents, it’s white men from the beginning to former President Barack Obama, so what you do is talk more about first ladies, do side lectures, and talks about women’s suffrage to vote, and people like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. I now try to consciously insert new talks about great women like Ida B. Wells and Dolores Huerta, who was a founder of United Farm Workers. I have tried to shine a flashlight on women in history because it’s been under underplayed and, particularly if you’re writing the history of American politics, it gets underplayed.

How have you seen great leaders interact with the staffers who support their work?


Brinkley: I find that presidents who have trusted advisors turn out


better than the other presidents, meaning they had true critics around them. FDR, because he was in a wheelchair and had to be lifted, usually had a general or military aid with him. He also he had a man named Louis Howe, his wife Eleanor Roosevelt and scores of friends that would just tell him, “You’re wrong.” He liked that. He liked hearing other people say, “You’re not right,” and be challenging. I think that’s healthy. I don’t think you want to get isolated in a White House. What helped John F. Kennedy is that he had Ted Sorensen. Ronald Reagan had Nancy Reagan, George Shultz, James Baker and people that he could trust. Those individuals can tell the president what they thought without facing repercussions. If you build a team around you that can tell you straight and talk straight, I think you can have a better decision-making process. If you are in the legislature, keep your good friends close at hand — friends that don’t leave you, friends that you can talk straight to, a religious advisor who you can talk to, or people that can help you get clarity of mind so that you’re not just constantly off and about on your own raft.

If you could run for any office, what would it be? Brinkley: I would love to be a governor of a state because I like

learning every detail about whatever state I’m living in or where I’m from, right down to the county lines and to the polling places. I like the state-by-state approach. Governor would be my most coveted job. In the federal government, I have always dreamed — and, for me, it’s actually more realistic — of running the National Park Service. I just thought how much fun that would be. It’s not just Yellowstone, Yosemite or Mammoth Cave — it’s all of these historical sites, too. That job would be awesome.

What is something meaningful that you keep in your office? Brinkley: I think mainly — and not to sound boring — but just

photos of my family. But I have a signed bat by Hank Aaron, the baseball king, and a painting by Duke Ellington, the great jazz leader. Those sit by me but mainly its books, and pictures of my wife and three kids.

Do you have any tips for people visiting Raleigh? Brinkley: I still go to capitols because I like to see what the

statuary is around the lawns. I really am interested in how Raleigh has now bled into Duke University, and how that area has become the research triangle and one of the four or five most important parts of our country for innovation.

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National Events CSG Henry Toll Fellowship Lexington, Kentucky | Sept. 5-10, 2024 The Henry Toll Fellowship, named for CSG founder, Colorado state Sen. Henry Wolcott Toll, is one of the nation’s premier leadership development programs for state government officials. Each year, the Toll Fellowship brings up to 48 of the nation’s top officials from all three branches of state government to Lexington, Kentucky, for an intensive five-day leadership boot camp. The program’s sessions are designed to stimulate personal assessment and growth while providing priceless networking and relationship-building opportunities. Applications will open Feb. 1; the deadline to apply is May 1. Learn more at csgovts.info/tolls.

CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award THE COUNCIL OF S TATE GOVERNMENTS supports elected and appointed state officials s as they take on their important role in public service. CSG is America’s largest organization of state officials and the nation’s only nonpartisan, nonprofit organization serving all three branches of state government. Founded in 1933, CSG fosters the exchange of insights and ideas to help state officials shape public policy.

2024 CSG NATIONAL AND REGIONAL OFFICERS Rep. Kevin Ryan, Assistant Deputy Speaker, Connecticut | CSG National Chair Sen. Elgie Sims, Illinois | CSG National Chair-Elect


CSG EAST Sen. Bill Ferguson, Senate President, Maryland | CSG East Co-Chair


Delegate Adrienne Jones, Speaker of the House, Maryland | CSG East Co-Chair CSG MIDWEST Sen. Bill Reineke, Ohio | CSG Midwest Chair CSG SOUTH Lt. Gov. Craig Blair, Senate President, West Virginia | CSG South Chair CSG WEST Sen. Bill Hansell, Oregon | CSG West Chair

The CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award recognizes the outstanding work of 20 up-and-coming elected or appointed officials from across the country who exemplify strong leadership skills and have demonstrated a true commitment to serving their state or territory. Recipients are honored at the 2024 National Conference in December. Applications will open Feb. 1; the deadline to apply is Aug. 1. Learn more at web.csg.org/20-40.

Medicaid Policy Academy Fall 2024 The Medicaid Policy Academy educates and equips state policymakers to provide appropriate oversight over state Medicaid programs. This program brings together state administration and legislative officials who are engaged with health care policy for a dive into the policy and conversations surrounding governing Medicaid programs.

2024 CSG National Conference

New Orleans, Louisiana | Dec. 4-7, 2024 Each year, CSG convenes state leaders from all three branches of government, subject matter experts and private sector and community partners from across the U.S. to share ideas and explore solutions to the complex policy issues facing the states. Working with fellow state leaders from across the country and across the aisle, attendees of the CSG National Conference can learn from one another and build relationships to help solve problems and build and shape public policy. Join CSG in New Orleans for the 2024 National Conference; registration will open in Spring 2024.

There are more events to come! To keep up with the latest information, visit events.csg.org.

Regional Programs CSG East



The Center for the Advancement of Leadership Skills is for current elected or appointed members of state legislatures and judicial and executive branches. The five-day workshop event takes selected CALS scholars through activities and instruction focusing on the program’s four central components — communication, conflict resolution, consensus building, and critical decision making.


ROBERT J. THOMPSON EASTERN LEADERSHIP ACADEMY Aug. 25-29, 2024 Each year, 30 state and provincial officials from the 18 CSG Eastern Region member jurisdictions gather in Philadelphia for the Robert J. Thompson Eastern Leadership Academy. This select group of state officials from all three branches of government receives training to enhance their leadership and communication skills from a variety of experts in media, education, and government.

EASTRAIN The EASTRAIN service is one of the major benefits of membership in CSG East. Comprehensive, customizable leadership training sessions are offered to member states by legislative leadership request and delivered in the state capitol at little or no cost to the state legislature.


STAFF ACADEMY FOR GOVERNMENTAL EXCELLENCE (SAGE) Nov. 17-21, 2024 The Staff Academy for Governmental Excellence is a professional leadership development program for Southern state legislative, judicial, executive, and agency staff. In addition to developing their personal and professional leadership skills, participants build a network of their peers from across the Southern region. By shaping staff leaders, SAGE ultimately aims to provide the public with more effective state governments.


CSG West


CSG Midwest CSG MIDWESTERN LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE ANNUAL MEETING Columbus, Ohio | July 21-24, 2024 csgovts.info/mlc

BOWHAY INSTITUTE FOR LEGISLATIVE LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT (BILLD) Aug. 23-27, 2024 The Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development is the only leadership training program designed exclusively for Midwestern legislators. It helps newer legislators develop the skills necessary to become effective leaders, informed decision-makers and astute policy analysts. The annual program offers a unique opportunity for lawmakers to improve their leadership skills and explore the issues of the day with nationally renowned scholars, professional development experts, and legislative leaders and colleagues from across the region.

CSG South CSG SOUTHERN LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE The Greenbrier, West Virginia | July 21-25, 2024 csgsouth.org


WESTERN LEGISLATIVE ACADEMY (WLA) December 2024 Each year, state legislators from the western region are selected to participate in the Western Legislative Academy, a multi-day training experience focused on sharpening leadership skills needed to excel in a legislative environment. Faculty from academic, military, and legislative backgrounds engage class members in interactive sessions designed to provide a learning experience that expands understanding and fosters relationships.


WESTRAIN Offering a variety of professional development opportunities, the WESTRAIN program connects trainers and members to provide access to customized training sessions. Selected trainers are leaders in their respective areas of expertise delivering nonpartisan training designed to enhance leadership skills of legislators and legislative staff.




CSG WEST ANNUAL MEETING Portland, Oregon | July 9-12, 2024




The Council of State Governments is proud to announce the 2023 recipients of the CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award. As esteemed and accomplished public leaders from across the country, these 20 elected and appointed officials represent their states and territories with hard work and a dedication to public service. Members of the 2023 class are from across the nation, representing 17 states and one territory. Despite hailing from different regions, they are all dedicated to serving

their communities and working across party lines to work toward solutions. CSG annually welcomes outstanding leaders to join the 20 Under 40 community who exemplify a commitment to bipartisan and innovative solutions to policy concerns. This year’s class is politically and personally diverse, but they are united by their dedication to their constituents. ISSUE 4 2023 | CSG CAPITOL IDEAS

To learn more about how to apply or nominate an individual for the 2024 CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award, please visit web.csg.org/20-40.


Rep. Tory Blew kansas

From a young age, Rep. Tory Blew was taught to help others, which she credits to her pursuit of public service. She was elected to represent the 112th District in Kansas in 2017 at the age of 23, making her the youngest member of the state Legislature.

“I was told by many not to run because I was too young … Each negative comment fueled my fire and motivated me to keep working hard.”

When Blew inherited her seat, Kansas was in financial crisis, specifically when it came to funding K-12 schools. As someone who experienced this financial strain first-hand as a substitute teacher and a high school business teacher prior to her role in the Legislature, she wanted to serve as an advocate for students, parents and faculty in the school system. “Being the youngest member of the Legislature and one who has also worked within four different school districts, I wanted to be the voice to legislators on what day-to-day operations are like in rural school districts, and how lack of

funding is truly affecting them,” Blew said. Blew is the 2022 recipient of the Fort Hays State University Young Alumni Award and the co-chair for the Kansas Future Caucus. She was also named the chair of Run GenZ’s Rising Stars, an organization dedicated to helping people under the age of 30 to run for public office, something she did not experience when she decided to run for office. “I was told by many not to run because I was too young," Blew said. "The mayor of my hometown even told me I had no chance in hell of winning. Each negative comment fueled my fire and motivated me to keep working hard. I remind myself of this often, especially when I feel defeated, and it quickly changes my mindset to keep fighting.

Sen. Darrin Camilleri

assistant majority leader, michigan


Michigan Sen. Darrin Camilleri always knew he wanted to help others, but working in state government was not his original plan. He is a first-generation college graduate and initially used his degree to become a teacher. It was through his teaching career that he was called to public service.


“On my first day in the classroom, I found myself with no textbooks, no curriculum and a class of students who were desperately behind because our education system had failed them,” Camilleri said. “After a few years of teaching, I knew I wanted to help more than one class at a time, and I decided to run for state representative in the community where I grew up.” At 23 years old, Camilleri secured his seat representing Michigan’s 23rd District in the state House of Representatives, and became the youngest Latino and first-ever Maltese-American state legislator.

In 2023, Camilleri was elected to represent Michigan’s 4th District as a state senator. He also serves as the assistant majority leader and on several committees, including the Pre-K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee. Not forgetting his roots as an educator, Camilleri has fought to secure necessary investments in Michigan’s education system through his work in the Senate. “I’m proud to say that in this last budget alone, I was able to secure hundreds of thousands in much-needed investments for our community and help shape the most transformational education budget in our state’s history as the chairman of the Senate Pre-K-12 Subcommittee," Camilleri said. Camilleri is proud of his family’s story and his heritage as a Maltese and Latino individual.

“After a few years of teaching, I knew I wanted to help more than one class at a time, and I decided to run for state representative in the community where I grew up.”

Rep. Blake Carpenter speaker pro tempore, kansas

Rep. Blake Carpenter has worn many hats throughout his career. In addition to his work as a representative of Kansas District 81, Carpenter works as an electrical design engineer for Boeing Defense, Space & Security, as well as serving in the Kansas Air National Guard where he is second lieutenant. However, for Carpenter, serving the people of the Sunflower State is where he is able to find innovative solutions that help others. “For me, it's about putting the needs of the people first and working diligently to serve them with integrity, empathy and dedication,” Carpenter said. “Public service offers a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on individuals' lives and the community as a whole.” Carpenter has held several positions during his time in the Kansas House, including serving as House Elections chairman in 2021 and as House majority whip from 2018 to 2022. He was elected by his fellow legislators in 2022 to his current post as House speaker pro tempore.

Finding innovative solutions often means working across the aisle, something Carpenter is familiar with. During this past legislative session, his work with members of varying parties resulted in the passage of a comprehensive bill that provided a fair and equitable compensation system for officials across all three branches of government. “By setting aside party affiliations and focusing on the common objective of finding a sustainable solution, we created a bill that garnered broad support and ultimately led to its successful enactment,” Carpenter said. “This achievement not only demonstrated the power of non-partisanship in legislative processes but also showcased how diverse perspectives can come together to achieve meaningful results for the benefit of the entire community.” Despite Carpenter’s busy career-life, some of his greatest accomplishments come from home.

“For me, it's about putting the needs of the people first and working diligently to serve them with integrity, empathy and dedication.”

“Being a dedicated husband and father brings immeasurable joy, as my family means the world to me, and I strive to be there for them in every way possible,” Carpenter said.

Jay Chaudhary

director, division of mental health and addiction, family and social services administration, indiana Since graduating from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 2009, Jay Chaudhary has spent his entire career in public service. His career began with Indiana Legal Services, a nonprofit law firm dedicated to providing free civil legal assistance to low-income residents in Indiana. Serving over a decade with the organization, Chaudhary’s dedication earned him the title of managing attorney and director of medical legal partnership. In 2015, he was recognized by the National Center for Medical Legal Partnership at George Washington University with the Outstanding MLP award. In 2019, Chaudhary’s career led him to his current position with the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration as the director of the Division of Mental Health and Addiction. He was also appointed chair of the Indiana

“We needed the right policy, but more importantly we needed alignment: across ideology, across stakeholder groups, across the entire state,” Chaudhary said. “This broad support turned into Indiana Senate Bill 1, which then turned into a historic change and investment in behavioral health that will pay dividends for years and decades to come.” For Chaudhary, helping others is what keeps him motivated. “Nothing gets me out of bed in the morning more than working collaboratively with like-minded people to have an impact on our community,” Chaudhary said.


“Nothing gets me out of bed in the morning more than working collaboratively with like-minded people to have an impact on our community.”

Behavioral Health Commission in 2021, where he has played a part in transforming the state’s mental health system.


Rep. Houston Gaines

vice chairman, house majority caucus, georgia Rep. Houston Gaines has the tenacity it takes to be a state leader. He was elected to the Georgia State House in 2018 at the age of 23, one year after he lost the exact same race and seat.

“I often tell people that losing my first race is one of the most important things to ever happen to me.”

“I was very uncertain whether to run again, but ultimately decided to take on the incumbent in a race where I was the underdog," Gaines said. "I’m very proud of that victory, and I often tell people that losing my first race is one of the most important things to ever happen to me.” Growing up, Gaines witnessed first-hand the impact public service had on his community and his own family. His grandfather, Joe Gaines, served as a Superior Court judge for the Western Judicial Circuit for over three decades. This, he said, showed him what it takes to be in this field. “My grandfather, who we called Papa Judge, served as a local judge for many years and illustrated to me the values someone must have if they want to go into public service,” Gaines said. “He went above and beyond the call of duty always seeking the answer that would make

his community better — and that would improve the lives of those before him on the bench.” Aside from his work in the State House, Gaines maintains a career outside of politics working to grow a small business. “While serving in the House, I’ve been honored to work with small businesses in our community with a focus on helping these successful companies grow," Gaines said. "For the last several years, I’ve been with Carter Engineering, a firm that works to make development projects a reality. Being a part of this small business and helping it grow has been a tremendous honor.” Now, five years into his career in the Legislature, Gaines has proven himself as a leader and was elected by his peers to serve as vice chairman of the Georgia House Majority Caucus. He has also worked with colleagues to pass laws that span partisan ties, which he said is the right thing to do. “Over my five years in the Legislature, I’ve had the opportunity to work on many issues that aren’t Republican or Democrat issues — they are simply the right thing to do," Gaines said.

Dan Hereth


secretary, department of safety & professional services, wisconsin


Secretary Dan Hereth has dedicated his career to public service, working 12 years for Congresswoman Gwen Moore, serving as deputy district director before joining the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services as assistant deputy secretary in 2019. In 2022, Gov. Tony Evers appointed Hereth secretary of the department.

Hereth has given back to his community in several ways, both through his work with the state and volunteering. From his work with Milwaukee’s Soldiers Home National Historic Landmark to establishing the Wisconsin Advisory Council on Building Sustainability.

“As a second grader, I heard three candidates discuss maximizing the resources and tools of the federal government to serve our nation,” Hereth said. “In that moment it was clear to me that public service was an opportunity to not only have an exponential impact on my friends and family but also to drive forward opportunities for my community, my state and my country.”

“I am proud of establishing the Wisconsin Advisory Council on Building Sustainability and securing federal funding to add staffing capacity necessary to make Wisconsin a leader in sustainable and resilient building design and construction,” Hereth said. “This will enhance the safety, sustainability, and resilience of every Wisconsin community.”

Hereth’s first year leading the Wisconsin DSPS saw numerous technology upgrades, as well as a focus on innovative partnerships with professional associations, employers and other stakeholders. His work has increased licensing efficiency and bolstered Wisconsin’s professional workforce, while holding firm to the department’s mission of public safety.

Above all, his first priority is doing what is best for the people of Wisconsin. “I have spent my career focused on outcomes that serve individuals and communities,” Hereth said. “I believe that in today’s political environment, successful efforts require practical, solution-based governing.”

“ … It was clear to me that public service was an opportunity to not only have an exponential impact on my friends and family but also to drive forward opportunities for my community, my state and my country.”

Sen. Rod Hickman mississippi

At just 10 years old, Mississippi Sen. Rod Hickman was knocking on doors around the city helping his father campaign for justice court judge. While his dad’s campaign may have been unsuccessful, it planted a seed in the future state senator. “Since that time, I’ve known that I wanted to go into public service. I have always sought to be solution-oriented, and I feel that desire deepened my passion for public service,” Hickman said. “Being from Mississippi I am keenly aware of our problems and issues, however, I’m more aware of Mississippi’s potential.” In 2021, Hickman was elected to serve Mississippi’s 32nd Senate District where he became the youngest current serving state senator. As part of the minority party in a Legislature controlled by the supermajority, seeing potential in nonpartisan collaboration is one of Hickman’s strengths.

“Being in the minority party in a Legislature controlled by a super majority, most of my successes have been non-partisan. I have been extremely fortunate to be able to gain the friendship and confidence of leaders and colleagues on both sides of the isle.” Outside of his work in the Legislature, Hickman wears many hats. He is the founding partner of Hickman Fondren, PLLC, and an adjunct pre-law professor at Tougaloo College and at the Mississippi University for Women. Hickman believes some of his greatest successes are those that his students achieve. “My job as a college professor is what I call my ‘passion job,'" Hickman said. "I pour everything I can into my students and enjoy contributing to the next generation of lawyers. My student’s successes are my greatest accomplishments.”

“Being in the minority party in a Legislature controlled by a super majority, most of my successes have been nonpartisan. I have been extremely fortunate to be able to gain the friendship and confidence of leaders and colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale vermont

Vermont Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale grew up waiting tables for her family’s local business. Working at the Irish pub owned by her parents shaped the person and public servant Hinsdale became.

After serving in the House, Hinsdale was elected to the state Senate where she has maintained her priority of creating inclusive policies. This past session, she sought to implement change in the state’s housing laws.

The passage of this bill happened to come at a time when Hinsdale was adding to her family as well. During that session, she delivered her daughter, Mira, six weeks early. “It was one of the most challenging but meaningful things I have ever done, and she was a constant reminder of why I was fighting for access to child care and safe, affordable housing for all families," Hinsdale said.


“The opportunities that have shaped who I am today came from the unseen forces of inclusive policy decisions. So, when I ran at the age of 22 and won a seat in the Vermont House of Representatives, I was able to do the same, and to do it in a high-profile way that encouraged others to help diversify the halls of power.”

“My Indian immigrant father and Jewish American mother were only able to open the Irish pub they ran because they received a loan from the Women’s Bank of Los Angeles,” Hinsdale said. “In short, the opportunities that have shaped who I am today came from the unseen forces of inclusive policy decisions. So, when I ran at the age of 22 and won a seat in the Vermont House of Representatives, I was able to do the same, and to do it in a high-profile way that encouraged others to help diversify the halls of power.”

“My goal this past session was to end discrimination against multifamily housing in all state and local zoning policies,” Hinsdale said. “I stood side by side with the Republican governor and his administration, and yet, articulated the urgency around this policy change as one that would close the race and class homeownership gap and encourage climate-conscious development. Ultimately, the bill passed with a near-unanimous vote in the House and Senate and was recently signed into law.”


Rep. Jason Hughes louisiana

Louisiana Rep. Jason Hughes is inspired by a family history of service. His grandfather served for 22 years in the U.S. Army, and upon retirement led his community as an ordained minister. Hughes’ father worked tirelessly to deliver mail as a postal service worker, viewing the act as a “vital service to public,” and his mother has helped the children and families of Louisiana as a staff member for the Department of Children and Family Services for over 42 years.

“Once I began college, I used that opportunity as a new beginning, and it completely changed my academic and career trajectory. It is always a constant reminder to me — it is never too late to make a new beginning.”

“Collectively, these three individuals have inspired me to become a public servant and have been extraordinary examples of how to serve others with dedication, commitment, respect and integrity, ” Hughes said. With this inspiration, Hughes has become a leader in the Louisiana House of Representatives, becoming the only freshman legislator to be appointed to the State Budget Conference Committee. He also sits on the Ways and Means, Health and Welfare, and Judiciary committees as well as the Joint Committee on Capital Outlay and the Select Committee on Homeland Security.

In 2021, Hughes worked across the aisle as the lead House author of SB 10, which mandated kindergarten attendance for all Louisiana students. The bill had been attempted nearly 20 times but without success. Hughes’ insight and conversations with Senate members resulted in the bill being sent to conference committee, where he served as lead House negotiator. After some debate, a stronger amendment was agreed to, and the bill passed out of the House and on to the governor’s desk. “My skill of diplomacy continues to allow me to build strong effective relationships with my Republican colleagues and I am often called upon to help broker compromises,” Hughes said. “Instead of allowing this bill to become a partisan fight, I kept the focus on policy and the best interest of the children.” Hughes graduated in the top 20% of his class from the Southern University Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, an achievement he places among his top accomplishments.

Rep. Zachary Ista

minority leader, north dakota Four votes separated North Dakota Rep. Zachary Ista from his opponent in his first election. It had been an arduous election for Ista, who knocked on over 4,000 doors, but following an automatic recount, he won the seat.


Ista is a graduate of American University Washington College of Law after utilizing a scholarship requiring active work in public service upon graduation. He worked for the National Education Association, an attorney representing labor unions and an assistant state’s attorney.


“When the opportunity arose, I jumped at the chance to further my public service by accepting an appointment to a vacant seat in the North Dakota House of Representatives,” Ista said. “The best part is that the reality of being a public servant in elected office has far outpaced the dream I’ve long held. It truly is an honor to meet constituents looking for help with a problem or who have an idea for how to improve public policy and then being able to help find them a solution or implement a positive change. “Even on my worst days in office, I still find joy in the choice I made to pursue public service.”

During the 2023 session, Ista worked on legislation to better protect domestic violence survivors. This allowed him to partner with domestic violence prevention groups, defense attorneys and prosecutors and work with numerous cosponsors without focusing on partisan issues. “As a result of this collaborative nonpartisan work, victims of stalking now will be able to seek protection orders; survivors of domestic violence will be able to move forward on their protection orders even when perpetrators evade service; more offenders will be ordered into mandatory intervention programming designed to stop the cycle of violence; and the legal rights of the accused to notice and due process have been preserved,” Ista said. “This only happened because I brought together stakeholders on a nonpartisan basis to make good public policy.” In 2023, Ista was selected to serve as House minority leader and is chair of the State-Tribal Relations Interim Committee. He is also a member of the House Finance and Tax Committee. In 2021, he attended the Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership, a CSG Midwest program.

“Even on my worst days in office, I still find joy in the choice I made to pursue public service.”

Rep. Dontavius Jarrells assistant minority leader, ohio

In his second term, Ohio Representative and Assistant Minority Leader Dontavius Jarrells keeps building on his efforts to make Ohio a place where everyone feels welcome. After seeing his community’s struggles growing up, Jarrells spent close to a decade working with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities. “Choosing a career in public service was not merely a professional decision, it was an act of unwavering commitment to serve the people of Ohio,” Jarrells said. “My love for people drives me to stand up for their rights and well-being, making it a natural choice to devote my life to building an Ohio that reflects the true promise of America for each and every citizen.” As a legislator, Jarrells is a member of the Commerce and Labor, Constitutional Resolutions, Finance, Finance Subcommittee on Higher

Education, Insurance, and Rules and Reference Committees. He is focused on passing bipartisan legislation that would remove outdated and derogatory language from the Mental Health and Disability Terminology Act. By working alongside a republican cosponsor to remove antiquated terms in legislation, Jarrells said the Ohio Revised Code now reflects “the values of kindness, dignity and respect all Ohioans deserve.” Jarrells also serves as president of the Ohio Young Black Democrats and chair of the Black Caucus of the Young Democrats of America. These rolls allow him to “empower countless young black leaders across the country, foster diversity in politics and amplify the voices of marginalized communities.” Jarrells said working with others allows him to improve equitable representation for all people and create a more inclusive and just political landscape.

“Choosing a career in public service was not merely a professional decision, it was an act of unwavering commitment to serve the people of Ohio.”

Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove missouri

“While being first isn’t easy, it has helped me tap into family history, allowing me to serve and represent all my communities in the legislative process in a way we haven’t seen before.”

ties in the legislative process in a way we haven’t seen before,” Manlove said.

This legacy helped Manlove when forging her own path. She is the first openly LGBTQIA+ Black Caucus chair. Manlove came out politically in her second year in office, in part to show support for members of the LGBTQIA+ community who were under scrutiny.

“In the two years since its passage, nearly a million dollars have been distributed to doula providers,” Manlove said. “I now hear advertisements on the radio offering free doula training and I can see these resources put to good use.”

“While being first isn’t easy, it has helped me tap into the strength within my family history, allowing me to serve and represent all my communi-

In her role as a Missouri representative, Manlove utilized her presence on the budget committee to focus resources on care for Black mothers, specifically through the distribution of funds to doula providers. As a member of the minority, she had to work across the aisle to secure funding.

Manlove has also focused her efforts on passage of the CROWN Act, student loan repayment, increasing civic education standards and establishing a student-teacher collaboration board.


the strength within my

Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove carries on her family’s legacy in public service and in the Missouri General Assembly. Both her uncle, former Rep. Craig Bland, and grandmother, Sen. Mary Groves Bland, were members of the legislature. Manlove and her uncle have both been chair of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus. She is also a member of the United States military, much like her paternal family.


Rep. Jessica Miranda minority whip, ohio Since 2018, Ohio Representative and Minority Whip Jessica Miranda has focused on listening to, and championing, her community. She wanted to make sure her voice, and the voice of women, mothers and Ohioans, was heard in the Legislature. Despite her desire to have her voice be heard, Miranda recognizes her career was “chosen for her" by her constituents and she prides herself on “constituent service” focused work.

“This was bigger than

Miranda is a business owner and parent. In 2014, she joined the local school board and was elected president for three consecutive years. These experiences helped Miranda prioritize listening to constituents and emphasized the importance of working with others, even if the parties disagree.

republican vs. democrat; this was bigger than partisanship. This was the right thing to do, and

nous people, then housed in the connection’s archives. While the repatriation wouldn’t cost Ohioans financially, Miranda and Seitz attached the language to the state operating budget in order to move it through the legislative process. “Having representatives from both sides of the aisle advocating for this provision was paramount in ensuring that it remained in the budget throughout the entire process, and to the end,” Miranda said. “We passed the budget at the end of June, and in doing so we secured the rightful tribal repatriation of indigenous remains and ensured the respectful burial of Ohio’s first residents. This was bigger than Republican vs. Democrat; this was bigger than partisanship. This was the right thing to do, and I am so proud that we got it done.”

Miranda and Rep. Bill Seitz worked together on legislation allowing the Ohio History Connection to easily repatriate the remains of indige-

I am so proud that we got it done.”

Rep. Corey Paris

majority caucus chair, connecticut


In 2023, Connecticut passed bipartisan student loan forgiveness legislation. Representative and Majority Caucus Chair Corey Paris said engaging in extensive bipartisan discussion with legislators and other stakeholders allowed for greater understanding and compromise.


“While different members had differing visions for the legislation, we focused on areas of agreement and sought to strike a balance that could garner broad support,” Paris said. “Ultimately, by transcending political divides and prioritizing the well-being of the people, we achieved a significant milestone in addressing the student loan crisis, providing hope and relief to countless individuals burdened by debt and signaling the enduring power of collaborative governance.” Paris was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. He attended Western Connecticut State University for his bachelor's

degree in political science. Paris joined the House of Representatives in 2021 and represents Connecticut's second largest city, Hartford. “Running for office was not just about seeking a position of power but rather an opportunity to be a voice for the people and champion the causes that mattered to them,” Paris said. “Being elected meant that the community entrusted me with the responsibility to represent their interests, and it reinforced my belief in the power of democracy and the potential for positive change through dedicated leadership.” Outside of the Legislature, Paris is the chief development officer for the Children’s Learning Centers of Fairfield County, the state’s largest center-based early child care center.

“Running for office was not just about seeking a position of power but rather an opportunity to be a voice for the people and champion the causes that mattered to them.”

Rep. Ranjeev Puri majority whip, michigan

Michigan Representative and Majority Whip Ranjeev Puri’s journey to public service began 50 years ago, when his parents immigrated to a small town in Wisconsin. He was the first member of his family born in the United States, and he watched his parents build a community, including the first Sikh Gurdwara in Wisconsin. Years later, the same Gurdwara would experience a mass shooting.

In office, Puri again saw the effect of gun violence on his community, this time with the shooting at Michigan State University. He was asked to help unite both parties on common sense gun reform. This involved uniting advocates, opponents, stakeholders and political leaders to discuss the main issues. In the end, legislation was passed with the support of both sides.

“For me, that moment encompassed everything about my parent’s journey and my family’s own American dream, and it wasn’t even worth a full 24 hours,” Puri said, in discussing the story fading from the news cycle. “I realized in that moment that my community’s narrative needed to be written by us before it was written for us.

“This is by far the toughest negotiation I have led and could possibly be my greatest achievement during my time as a legislator,” Puri said. “Some may view this conversation as purely political and partisan, but I don’t. There were countless hours of tough conversations, with the full range of emotions put into ensuring the package of bills landed in a place in which all key stakeholders were involved in the process.”

“What led me to run for office was not a carefully charted path for decades, but instead, a failure of a system. I was ready to sacrifice what I had accomplished with the hopes of expanding my voice to help others and do my part to ensure I was leaving the world a little better than I found it.”

Puri attended Ohio State University and holds a bachelor's degree in economics. He also has a master's degree in business administration from the Chicago Booth School of Business. Puri is married and has three children, whom he said he continues to learn from, and is “certain they have made [him] a better legislator.”

“What led me to run for office was not a carefully charted path for decades, but instead, a failure of a system. I was ready to sacrifice what I had accomplished with the hopes of expanding my voice to help others and do my part to ensure I was leaving the world a little better than I found it.”

Rep. Ambureen Rana maine

“This wouldn’t have been possible without organizing power and storytelling,” Rana said. “Everyone in our state knows someone who has been impacted by the opioid epidemic. The public hearing for this bill was powerful, impactful and heart-wrenching.”

“I am grateful to have been able to start my career working in direct service where I built relationships with directly impacted people,” Rana said. “Hearing their stories, learning about their lives and witnessing the gaps in the system led me to become a community organizer. I feel that this experience prepared me to be the legislator that I am.”

Rana is one of three Muslim members of the Maine House of Representatives. She said she is proud to “bring a fresh perspective” to the Legislature. Rana honored her fellow Asian American Mainers this year through a joint resolution and floor speech.

As representative, Rana used the stories of those in her community to gain bi-partisan support on LD 1714, a bill that directed a portion of cannabis revenue to community centers focused on recovery. By allowing community members to speak to the impact funding would make on their lives, legislators were able to see the importance of diverting funding.

Through Rana’s work in public service, she has learned the importance of clear communication and listening to those with different beliefs. “Many legislators from across the aisle had aired concerns throughout this journey,” Rana said when discussing LB 1714. “Taking the time to listen to them, address their issues, and clear up any misconceptions was integral in winning their support.”


“I am grateful to have been able to start my career working in direct service where I built relationships with directly impacted people.”

Rep. Ambureen Rana believes legislation should be informed by those who are directly affected by it. The Maine representative has dedicated her life to supporting marginalized communities, working for community centers, nonprofits and women’s organizations.


Delegate Briana Sewell virginia

“Being elected meant that the community entrusted me with the responsibility to represent their interests, and it reinforced my belief in the power of democracy and the potential for positive change through dedicated leadership.”

Born and raised in the Prince William County, Virginia, Delegate Briana Sewell recognized the importance of her community.

to learn, critical decision-making skills and consensus-building, according to Minority Leader Don Scott.

“Running for office was not just about seeking a position of power but rather an opportunity to be a voice for the people and champion the causes that mattered to them. Being elected meant that the community entrusted me with the responsibility to represent their interests, and it reinforced my belief in the power of democracy and the potential for positive change through dedicated leadership.”

Legislation sponsored by Sewell includes protections for child sexual assault victims, improved access to occupational licenses or the adoption of an interstate compact, and expanded retirement benefits for public defenders. She holds the title of most effective democratic legislator with four years or less experience in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Sewell is the child of United States Air Force veterans and a former district director for the county. In that role, she helped residents with tax and benefit questions. She has also worked for nonprofits and other government agencies, like the Board of County Supervisors.

“This recognition showcases my commitment to service and my desire to work with my colleagues, regardless of their party affiliation, towards the betterment of all,” Sewell said. “We are all sent to the Virginia General Assembly with a job to do, and I am honored to have the opportunity to serve my community in this capacity.”

After joining the House of Representatives in 2021, Sewell became known for her eagerness

Sen. Amanda Shelton majority leader, legislative secretary, guam

Guam, like Nebraska, has a unicameral chamber. Sen. Amanda Shelton is one of 15 senators who represent all of Guam’s residents. This unique chamber dynamic means bipartisanship is often required.


One instance was in 2021, when Shelton authored the Opioid Prevention and Treatment Act, which helped allocate the $10 million Guam was set to receive under the nationwide settlement. The act created both a trust fund and an advisory council.


“It brought together bipartisan members of the Legislature, executive branch agencies in the areas of health care and law enforcement, community stakeholders, including NGOs, and opioid crisis subject matter experts,” Shelton said. “It ensured that the initial settlement money and any future allotments will be used to support prevention and treatment efforts with emphasis on abuse, addiction, reduction of overdose deaths, and mitigation of problems arising from Guam’s opioid epidemic.”

Shelton has also focused sponsored legislation on protecting vulnerable populations and sustainability. She serves as the legislative secretary, majority leader and chairs the committees on Maritime and Air Transportation, Parks and Tourism, Higher Education and the Advancement of Women, Youth and Senior Citizens. Shelton’s family is filled with generations of public servants, including her grandmother who was a nurse during the Japanese occupation of Guam and her father, who was a senator. When Shelton was elected in 2018, she was the youngest female senator ever elected to the Guam Legislature. “I strive to be an example to youth, because age should not be a barrier to contributing to the betterment of Guam, even at the Legislature,” Shelton said. “I always want that achievement to remind those who follow that whether on our own or by opportunities created for us, there is always a spot at the table for those who pursue it.”

“I always want that achievement to remind those who follow that whether on our own or by opportunities created for us, there is always a spot at the table for those who pursue it.”

Sen. Löki Tobin alaska

Born and raised in Nome, Alaska, with a population of just around 3,000 people, Sen. Löki Tobin has always understood the importance of community. She comes from a family of volunteers and community leaders, which played a role in her decision to run for office. “My pathway to public service started well before I was born,” Tobin said. “My parents’ parents were dedicated community volunteers, with my mother’s mother being one of the first Black women to serve as a Girl Scout leader in her home community and my father’s mother leading efforts to turnout the women vote in her community.” When Tobin was working as a U.S. Senate page in Washington, D.C., she met former Alaska state Sen. Tom Begich, who urged her to consider running for office. “I realized that I have much to offer in helping facilitate broader diversity in state government and how to best use my lived and professional experiences to leverage a more inclusive,

representative Alaska state government that reflects the diversity and breadth of knowledge to benefit all Alaskans," Tobin said. So, after her stint as policy director for Begich, Tobin decided to run for office. After winning her election in 2023, Tobin became only the third Black woman to be elected to the Alaska Senate and the first to represent both the neighborhoods of South Addition and Fairview. Since then, Tobin has had the opportunity to work on legislation that would not only advance the people of Alaska but would also lead her to advance her education. “I am especially proud of the work I did in shepherding the Alaska Reads Act," Tobin said. "It was a herculean effort that led not only to the passage of a quality piece of legislation, but it also led me to apply for and be accepted into a Ph.D. program where I hope to continue to contribute to the body of knowledge and research on hyper-local culturally sustaining education pedagogies.”

“I realized that I have much to offer in helping facilitate broader diversity in state government and how to best use my lived and professional experiences to leverage a more inclusive, representative Alaska state government that reflects the diversity and breadth of knowledge to benefit all Alaskans.”

Sen. Daniel Zolnikov montana

Zolnikov said. “I passed the bill creating the team that could focus solely on this issue as well as provide resources to help out and train local law enforcement.”

“In real life, solving a problem before it becomes a crisis is relatively normal. In politics, solving a problem once it becomes a crisis is considered an opportunity,” Zolnikov said. “I have preferred the road of forward-thinking action and have successfully passed a variety of legislation with the goal of being proactive instead of reactive.”

Beyond his constituents and fellow Montanans, Zolnikov’s legislative work has also been recognized by the Forbes magazine 30 Under 30: Law and Policy list and the Montana Library Association, who awarded him the Intellectual Freedom Award.

One example of Zolnikov’s proactive work in the Senate was his creation of Montana’s first law enforcement team focused solely on human trafficking. “I realized that almost no police departments were working on these cases and those who did were limited by their jurisdiction and funding,”

But for Zolnikov, it’s important that he stay connected to his roots — he just finished his 10th year coaching the swim team for his hometown, Roundup, Montana. “Service comes in all shapes and sizes, and although I am exhausted, I am glad to have been granted this opportunity," Zolnikov said.


“In real life, solving a problem before it becomes a crisis is relatively normal. In politics, solving a problem once it becomes a crisis is considered an opportunity.”

Montana Sen. Daniel Zolnikov prefers being proactive when it comes to solving problems. He believes this is translated through his approach to public service.




Toll Fellows on the Impact of the Program

By Trey Delida

The CSG Henry Toll Fellowship, receiving its namesake from the founder of The Council of State Governments, has been an integral part of CSG outreach initiatives since 1986. Annually gathering as many as 48 of the nation’s top officials from all three branches of state government, this five-day leadership boot camp strives to accelerate growth in each of their roles as leaders and public servants. To date, the Henry Toll Fellowship program has vetted more than 1,370 alumni that have gone on to illustrious careers in public policy and beyond. Toll, a Denver native and Colorado senator from 1922-30, served in World War I and attended Harvard Law School before founding CSG in 1933. As CSG executive director, Toll applied his own innovative approach to public policy, forming a nonpartisan organization that has withstood 90 years while addressing a national need for states to cooperate in a way that advanced the common good without party affiliation.

The inaugural Henry Toll Fellowship class met under the leadership of then Executive Director Carl Stenberg. Stenberg recalled the inception of this program as an effort to convene legislators and state leaders, which is now a vibrant program spanning 38 years. “The Toll program was actually a suggestion from Norman Sims, who directed the state’s information center, and his staff, and the executive committee really liked it. So, we made it happen,” Stenberg said. “The program has survived for almost 40 years, and I felt very proud to see the class inducted and the sharing of memories of their experience and the like.” Among that first class was South Carolina native Glen Browder, who, at the time, was a newly elected representative of Alabama’s 3rd District. Browder is an alumnus of Presbyterian College and Emory University. After obtaining his degrees, he went on to serve as a political science professor at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. From there, his career pivoted to becoming president of Data Associates in Anniston, Alabama, before his ultimate move to politics.


The reason he started a career as a public servant was simple: he wanted to contribute to his state and country.


“There’s an old saying that ‘luck is when opportunity meets preparation.’ So, in that, there’s a bit of advice. Preparation means actually understanding the issues. It means understanding the job. It means taking time to do the homework. The opportunity piece is being open to the doors that open to you that you can’t necessarily construct yourself. That means developing relationships with people so that they even think of you as somebody that they might call when an opportunity arises.” — RE P. FRA N U L ME R , ALAS KA

“I did not get into politics for any particular issue,” Browder said. “I got into it because I thought that I could contribute something worthwhile to how American democracy works.” As a newcomer to politics, Browder was looking for opportunities to learn from others and advance his skill set. That is what led him to the Toll Fellowship program. “I was fairly young and, of course, hoping to realize some progress in terms of my political career,” Browder said. “This [program] allowed me to not only connect with a lot of people throughout our country, but also to learn what was going on in other states. It looked like the kind of thing that I needed to do with my plans for what I wanted to contribute to American democracy.” Nearly 38 years after graduating from the Toll Fellowship, Browder recalled how the experience provided him with guidance and connections to a political newbie. “It provided me contacts with people throughout the rest of the country, knowledge about what was going on in the rest of the country, but also,

“I was fairly young and, of course, hoping to realize some progress in terms of my political career. This [program] allowed me to not only connect with a lot of people throughout our country, but also to learn what was going on in other states. It looked like the kind of thing that I needed to do with my plans for what I wanted to contribute to American democracy.” — GLE N B R O W DE R , S O U T H CAROL I NA

it gave me the confidence that I could possibly do the things that I wanted to be done,” Browder said. After graduating from the Toll program, Browder went on to serve as Alabama’s secretary of state from 1987-89. He is known for his passage of the Alabama Fair Campaign Practices Act of 1988, which was designed to strengthen protections against corrupt campaign and election funding. To this day, it remains the basis of financial reporting law for campaigns in Alabama. In 1991, Fran Ulmer, a member of the Alaska House of Representatives, was selected to join the Toll Fellowship program for its sixth class. Ulmer started her career as a lawyer at the Legislative Affairs Agency in Juneau, Alaska. From there, she served as a legislative assistant to former Alaska Gov. Jay Hammond. In 1977, Hammond appointed her as director of policy development and planning.

“It was a great opportunity to meet people who had some very similar career paths and some very, very different, and explore with them their experiences not only in getting to where they were but what they were doing at that time,” Ulmer said. “There was this cross-cultural mixing of both life stories and experiences in the field — that was everything from substantive legislation people were working on to strategies that they used in terms of how they got things done.” Ulmer also said that there was tremendous value for her in the unscripted aspects of the program that went beyond programming.

Following her time at the Toll Fellowship, Ulmer’s political career took on many different forms, including becoming Alaska's seventh lieutenant governor from 1994-2002 — the state’s first woman to be elected to statewide office. Ulmer now works as a senior fellow at the Harvard University Kennedy School, which is a role that places her in a mentorship position to upcoming students seeking careers in public policy. “There’s an old saying that ‘luck is when opportunity meets preparation.’ So, in that, there’s a bit of advice. Preparation means actually understanding the issues. It means understanding the job. It means taking time to do the homework,” Ulmer said. “The opportunity piece is being open to the doors that open to you that you can’t necessarily construct yourself. That means developing relationships with people so that they even think of you as somebody that they might call when an opportunity arises.” Henry Toll Fellows live nationwide and hold positions across the political spectrum and beyond in state and federal offices, elected positions, courthouses, commissions and much more. Yet, they all share a common thread: this prestigious, intensive leadership opportunity. What started from one senator who saw the immense importance of nonpartisan work has now grown to a family of nearly 1,400 individuals and counting who carry that legacy in how they serve.


Looking to further her political endeavors as a state representative, Ulmer signed on to become a Henry Toll Fellow, an experience she said was a melting pot of career and life stories.

“It was structured in a way that made it possible to have those kinds of informal conversations, which may have been some of the best parts,” Ulmer said. “Really, we were exposed, as I recall, to a lot of good presentations and group sessions, all of which was great, but it was that informal networking, and to a certain extent, the ability in some way — at least with a few people — to continue that relationship over time.”



Class of 2023 T H E 3 6 T H C L A S S O F F E L LO W S

Abraham Aiyash

Otis Anthony

Aiyash represents the Michigan’s 9th House District. He is the youngest member to be elected House majority floor leader. Aiyash received his degrees in political theory and constitutional democracy, pre-medical sciences and Muslim sciences from Michigan State University. In 2016, he founded the Halimah Project, an organization that provides mentorship and raises money for refugee children around Lansing, Michigan.

Anthony represents Mississippi’s 31st House District. Outside of public service, he serves as a personal financial consultant through his company, Anthony & Company LLC, helping middle class families plan for retirement. In 2009, Anthony founded Delta Development Institute & Interpretive Care, a not-for-profit organization helping people with housing, education, counseling and more.





Debra Bazemore REPRESENTATIVE | Georgia

Bazemore represents the citizens of Georgia’s House District 69 in Fulton and Fayette counties. She was elected by her constituents to serve as the House minority caucus chief deputy whip and serves as a regional chair for the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. Bazemore is a native of New York, where she founded Concerned Parents, a state-level student advocacy organization.

Hearcel Craig


Scott Beck

Craig has dedicated most of his life to public service. He proudly served the nation in the U.S. Army from 1970-72. He went on to serve as a legislative liaison for the Ohio Department of Youth Services before being named president pro tempore for the Columbus City Council. Today, Craig represents Ohio’s 15th Senate District and serves as assistant minority leader. He is also a ranking member on the Senate Insurance and Veterans and Public Safety Committees.

REPRESENTATIVE | Vermont Beck started his career life as a U.S. Navy flight officer. From there, he went on to open his own community bookstore and café in 2005, Boxcar and Caboose, which is still in operation today. In 2015, Beck was elected to serve as Vermont’s 2nd House District. Outside of his professional endeavors, he volunteers his time as a groundskeeper for the St. Johnsbury baseball fields.

Kirk Cullimore

SENATE MAJORITY ASSISTANT WHIP Utah Cullimore was first elected to the Utah State Senate in 2018. Cullimore graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 2008 and opened his own practice, Law Office of Kirk A. Cullimore, in Draper, Utah. He was also elected by his constituents to serve as assistant majority whip for the 2023 Utah Legislature. In his spare time, he volunteers his time to the music education of his community as Chairman of the Board for the Suzuki String Institute.

Bryan Echols


Alyssa Black


“ I learned very early in my life that while we are all different — at the core — people are also very similar. As a community organizer and working with a coalition that built a racial equity policy platform, I’ve come to understand that breaking bread together, storytelling and learning about one another’s lived experiences can be incredibly powerful. It is in those instances that you can really connect to a person outside of the labels of race, religion, region, and political affiliation.” — B RYAN E C H O L S , I L L I NOI S


Black was elected to the Vermont State Legislature in 2020. As a state representative, she serves on the House Committee on Health Care. Black has worked in the medical field since 1995. As a legislator, she has worked on legislation to make health care systems in Vermont more affordable and accessible.

Since 2018, Echols has collaborated with other government departments and organizations on behalf of the Illinois State Treasurer’s impact investment programs. Echols is also the founder of BE. The Change Consulting, which aids youth leadership development and organized racial equity and justice forums.


Kate Farrar

HOUSE DEPUTY MAJORITY LEADER | Connecticut Farrar was elected as a Connecticut State Representative of the 20th District in 2021. As a member of the Connecticut General Assembly, she serves as the vice chair of the Finance, Review and Bonding Committee. Farrar was also appointed House deputy majority leader. Outside of her work as a representative, she works with the Connecticut Foodshare in Wallingford, Connecticut, as a strategy coordinator.

Eric Forcier



Forcier started working with the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office in 2010 as a part-time contractor providing legal services. He has since worked as the constitutional deputy secretary of state and, more recently, as deputy secretary with the bureau of securities regulation. Forcier is also very involved with the North American Securities Administrators Association, serving as chair and northeast zone representative for the Enforcement Zones Project Group and as a sitting member of the Enforcement Section Committee.


Denise Garner

Rod Hickman

Garner is currently serving her third term representing District 20 in Arkansas. She serves on the House Education Committee; House Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee; and the Joint Budget Committee. Garner’s background ranges from business owner to the medical field. She is a partner/owner of a few businesses in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and previously worked as head nurse at the UAMS/Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute in Little Rock.

Hickman assumed his position representing Mississippi’s 32nd Senate District after winning a special election in 2021. In 2019, he was elected the first African American county prosecutor in Noxubee County. Aside from his work in public policy, Hickman serves as an adjunct professor at both Tougaloo College and Mississippi University for Women. He is an active member of his community, dedicating his spare time to chairing the Reed School Reunion Board, coaching the Noxubee High School mock trial team and more.


SENATOR | Mississippi

Dayan Hochman-Vigil REPRESENTATIVE | New Mexico

Much of Hochman-Vigil’s background is in law, where she boasts legal experience dating back to as an associate attorney. She has since worked her way to becoming owner and managing director of DHV Law LLC, and the only certified aviation and space law attorney in New Mexico. Hochman-Vigil was elected to serve New Mexico’s House District 15 in 2018, and is currently chair of the House Transportation, Public Works and Capital Improvements Committee.

Jamie Johnson


Shelly Hutchinson REPRESENTATIVE | Georgia

In 2018, Hutchinson was elected to serve her first term as a representative of Georgia’s 106th House District. A Louisiana native, she relocated to Athens, Georgia, to obtain her master’s degree in social work from the University of Georgia. Hutchinson is the owner and director of The Social Empowerment Center in Lawrenceville, Georgia, which is a full-service mental health and social service agency dedicated to providing resources and therapeutic services to the community.

Growing up in a military family, Johnson is dedicated to serving her public. Her political involvement began before her run for office; she is the former vice chair of the Platte County Democratic Central Committee and previously sat on the board of directors for the Community Action Agency of Greater Kansas City. Johnson now represents Kansas City’s newly drawn District 12.

Tania Hytrek

OPERATIONS ADMINISTRATOR, LEGISLATIVE SERVICE OFFICE Wyoming Hytrek serves as the operations administrator for the Wyoming Legislative Service Office in Cheyenne. Since 2021, she has supervised staff, built strong connections with state education stakeholders and drafted legislation based on her extensive legal research. Hytrek received her Juris Doctor from the University of Wyoming and has a legal background spanning nearly two decades.


Roers Jones has represented North Dakota’s 46th District since she was first elected in 2016, and served as North Dakota House Republican Caucus chairperson from 2019-21. Roers Jones, who is an active businesswoman, grew up working in a similar capacity for her family’s business. Prior to public service, her background was in the legal and real estate communities as the founder of Roers Jones Law PLLC and Roers Real Estate Services LLC.


Applications for the 2024 CSG Henry Toll Fellowship will open Feb. 1. The deadline to apply is May 1. To learn more, visit csgovts.info/tolls.

Shannon Roers Jones


Cory McCray

William Notte

Born and raised in Baltimore, McCray has served his constituents in Maryland’s 45th Legislative District since he was elected as a state delegate in 2015. His dedication to public service continued when he ran for a seat in the Maryland State Senate in 2018. McCray currently serves as chair of the Health and Human Services Subcommittee, and the Budget and Taxation Committee. In 2008, he became a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Notte joined the joint House leadership for the Democratic Party in 2023 after spending four years as a member of the House. His current work comes as the assistant majority leader of development and strategy. In Rutland, Maine, Notte manages Phoenix Books Rutland, where he has been employed since 2015. He also serves on the Rutland Free Library Board of Trustees.

T’wina Nobles

Brian Pettyjohn

Nobles was elected to the Washington State Senate in 2021. She is the Senate Majority Whip and is vice-chair of the Early Learning and K-12 and Higher Education committees. She is also a member of the Transportation Committee and was appointed to serve on the Joint Committee on Veterans’ and Military Affairs. Nobles was a 2021 recipient of the 20 Under 40 Leadership Award.

Pettyjohn has been in office since 2012 and served as minority whip since November 2020. He is a member of several committees, including Banking, Business, Insurance and Technology; Education; Judiciary; Executive; Legislative Council; Legislative Oversight and Sunset; and Rules and Ethics. Pettyjohn’s work outside of the General Assembly includes serving as senior information auditor and project manager at ThinkSecureNet LLC since 2016.







Mari-Lynn Poskin REPRESENTATIVE | Kansas

With more than 20 years of higher education experience, Poskin joined the Legislature in November 2020. She is on several committees, including the K-12 Education Budget; Commerce, Labor and Economic Development; Education; Transportation and Public Safety Budget; and Veterans and Military Affairs, among others. Poskin completed the 2022 Bowhay Institute of Legislative Leadership Development.

Denise Ricciardi

SENATOR | New Hampshire

Melissa Provenzano

HOUSE ASSISTANT MINORITY LEADER Oklahoma Provenzano is the House assistant minority leader and serves on committees addressing Common Education, Full Appropriations, Administrative Rules, Government Modernization, Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency and Civil Judiciary. She is also the state director for Women in Government. Provenzano began her career as a teacher in 2006 before obtaining roles as an assistant principal and principal in Bixby and Tulsa later in her career.

Since 2020, Ricciardi has been a member of the New Hampshire Senate. She is vice chair of the Commerce Committee and chair of the Transportation Committee. Ricciardi is also on several commissions, including those on 5G health, environmentally triggered chronic illness and autonomous vehicles. She also sponsored legislation for maternal health care and support.

Rebecca Reimer

HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP | South Dakota Reimer is in her third term as a South Dakota representative, serving on the Judiciary, State Affairs, Education, and Local Government Committees. She was elected as majority whip during the 2021-2022 legislative sessions. Reimer is also a 2019 Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development graduate, and a past vice chair of a summer study on long-term care.


REPRESENTATIVE | Vermont Outside of his role as a legislator, Roberts is the chief technologist for the nonprofit Health Product Declaration Collaborative. In the House, he serves as clerk of the House Corrections and Institutions Committee and is a member of the Joint Judicial Rules Committee.


“I will definitely be taking back the relationships. That, to me, is one of the most important parts of politics. All of the people that I’ve met, and even the people at CSG that I have not met, are the ones I can call on when I need something.”

Tristan Roberts


Cindy Ryu

REPRESENTATIVE | Washington Ryu, who is chair of the Innovation, Community and Economic Development Committee, has served in the Washington Legislature since 2011. She also serves as the U.S. Vice President of Pacific Northwest Economic Region. Two of Ryu’s four years with Shoreline City Council included her involvement as mayor.

Amy Roeder

REPRESENTATIVE | Maine When not in the House of Representatives, Roeder works to design and implement training programs as an applied improvisational trainer. A representative since 2020, she serves as chair of the Labor and Housing Committee. Roeder has focused her initiatives on nursing and medical care, family medical leave and employee rights.

Suzanne Salisbury REPRESENTATIVE | Maine

Salisbury joined the Maine Legislature in December 2020. She is chair of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee and the Ethics Committee. She participated in the 2022 Robert J. Thompson Eastern Leadership Academy. One of Salisbury’s personal policy projects is easing food insecurity in Maine, along with funding emergency medical services and addressing workforce shortages.

Amanda Shelton


Kristin Roers

As majority leader, Shelton serves the people of Guam. She joined the Legislature in 2019 and served as chairperson of two committees, as well as being majority whip. Currently, Shelton is chair of committees on Maritime and Air Transportation; Parks and Tourism; Higher Education; and the Advancement of Women, Youth and Senior Citizens.


SENATOR | North Dakota


Roers is the majority caucus leader for the 2023-2024 session, as well as being chair of the State and Local Governments Committee and a member of the Human Services Committee. She has served in the North Dakota Legislature since 2018. Roers was appointed by the Legislature to the Protection and Advocacy Council, the Child Support Guidelines Committee and the Occupational Licensing Reform Workgroup.

“I appreciate the fact that we can come together as democrats, republicans or independents and we can really talk to each other and get to know each other in an unthreatening environment.” — WAS H IN GTO N R EP. C I NDY RYU

Matthew Simpson REPRESENTATIVE | Alabama

Simpson is an attorney and member of the Alabama House of Representatives. He chairs the Ethics and Campaign Finance Committee and the Baldwin County Legislative Committee. He is a member of several other committees, including the Judiciary Committee. In 2018, Simpson was elected as leader of his freshman class. Simpson is actively involved with CSG South, where he is on the Human Services and Public Safety Committee.

Mark Spreitzer SENATOR | Wisconsin

Spreitzer was elected in November 2022 to represent the 15th District. He currently serves as the ranking democrat on the Senate Committee on Financial Institutions and Sporting Heritage. Spreitzer’s involvement also extends to committees focused on Agriculture and Tourism, and Housing, Rural Issues and Forestry. He is also an active member of several CSG Midwest committees.

Sara Stolt

Brandon Storm

Sara Stolt is the interim commissioner at the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services. She works to implement legislation and reorganize many state programs, such as the child welfare program and other social services. Stolt is also a member of the governor’s cabinet.

Storm began serving Kentucky Senate District 21 in January 2021. He is currently chair of the 2023 Senate Committee on Impeachment and co-chair of the Legislative Oversight and Investigations Committee. In addition to also serving as vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, Storm is a member of committees on Banking and Insurance; Economic Development, Tourism, and Labor; Judiciary; and State and Local Government. Since 2009, he has owned his own law firm in London, Kentucky, representing clients in both state and federal courts.

SENATOR | Kentucky




Holly Stover

Jordan Teuscher

Stove is currently in her second term in the Maine House, representing District 48. She currently serves as chair of the Government Oversight Committee and a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services. Outside the Legislature, Stover is responsible for fundraising and grant writing as development director at Lincoln County Dental in Wiscasset, Maine. She also maintains her role as addiction outreach program director with the Boothbay Region Community Resource Council. Stover retired in 2016 from a 23-year career that largely served at-risk youth and families at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

A two-term representative for Utah House District 44, Teuscher has quickly ascended into several leadership assignments since taking office in January 2021. Among them are duties as a House Leadership member, House Ethics Committee chair and Rules Committee vice chair. Teuscher was responsible for sponsoring 12 bills during the 2023 General Session. Since 2016, he has served as associate director at The Leavitt Institute for International Development and, since 2018, as facilities and real estate group manager for the Church of Jesus Chris of Latter-Day Saints. Teuscher is the recipient of a 2022 CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award and a 2022 NCSL Emerging Leaders Graduate.

Laura Supica

My-Linh Thai

First elected to the Maine House of Representatives in November 2020, Supica’s political identity is founded on her more than 10-year career in the food service industry. She is currently House chair of the Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs. Supica relocated to Maine from California in 2010, at which time she began working at various retail and food service establishments in Bangor. Through those experiences, she was encouraged to run for Bangor City Council in 2017. In addition to her continued work as a part-time server, Supica volunteers for multiple organizations focused on recovery and aging in place.

Washington Legislative District 41 has been guided by Thai since 2018. Her contributions as House deputy majority leader coincide with her roles on the Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee, Finance Committee, and Healthcare and Wellness Committee. Thai, who immigrated with her family to Washington at age 15 as a Vietnamese refugee, is the state’s first refugee elected to the House. She is currently co-chair of the SEED Mental Health Task Force, secretary of the National Asian Pacific American Caucus of State Legislators, and a member of the Western Legislative Academy Class of 2022.







Jason Thompson

SENIOR ASSISTANT REVISOR OF STATUTES | OFFICE OF REVISOR OF STATUTES Kansas For 16 years, Thompson has been at the Kansas Office of Revisor of Statutes, including 12 years as its senior assistant revisor. In this capacity, he offers his nonpartisan legal expertise to the Kansas Legislature by drafting various legislative documents, staffing committees and conducting legal research, among other duties. Thompson’s involvement also includes work with both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, as well as the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice. He previously served Kansas’ Johnson and Douglas Counties as a research attorney and law clerk, respectively.

Cathy Tilton

SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE | Alaska Equipped with more than 20 years of administrative leadership experience, Tilton transitioned from Alaska House minority leader to House speaker in January. Her arrival into the Alaska State House of Representatives came in 2015 upon taking office to lead District 12. Tilton currently serves as House Rules Committee vice chair, House Committee on Committees chair, and is a member of the Legislative Council. She previously served Alaska in several capacities from 2010-14, including as chief of staff, administrative assistant to the Legislative Council and assistant to the senator.

Briana Zamora

Wintrow has served in the Idaho State Senate since December 2019 and as Senate minority leader since December 2022. Her work includes contributions to the committees on Health and Welfare, Judiciary and Rules, Transportation and more. Prior to her election to the Senate, Wintrow was a state representative from 2014 to 2019. Wintrow doubles as an instructor of women’s and gender studies at Boise State University, which is a role she has had since 2002. She is a graduate of the 2017 Western Legislative Academy and a 2022 National Conference of State Legislators Opioid Policy Fellow.

Since July 2021, Zamora has served as a justice with the New Mexico Supreme Court. As part of her role, she acts as a liaison to committees on behavioral health, children’s court and tribal-state issues. Zamora’s early contributions included increased collaboration with all branches of the government to establish the New Mexico Supreme Court Commission on Mental Health and Competency. From 2018-21, she was the authoring judge for more than 50 appellate opinions in cases presided over by the New Mexico Court of Appeals.




Melissa Wintrow



FIRST NATIONAL CONVENING held by CSG took place in


The CSG National Conference averaged

769 attendees


of the States

Since 1983, The Council of State Governments National Conference has hosted state leaders from all three branches of government, subject matter experts and private sector partners from across the U.S. to share ideas and explore solutions to the complex policy issues facing the states. From Anchorage, Alaska, to Puerto Rico, members from all 50 states, five territories and eight Canadian provinces have gathered to engage and learn in sessions that have recently covered topics including electric vehicle infrastructure, learning loss and gaps, equitable governance, health disparities, Medicaid, state procurement issues, agriculture policy, workforce development and much more.

from 2012-22.

CSG held its

The 2022 CSG National Conference in HONOLULU, HAWAII, welcomed

1,463 members

Kentucky and Utah have averaged the MOST PUBLIC SECTOR ATTENDEES in the past five years.

ALASKA 2004 + 2014

Members from all 50 STATES, 5 TERRITORIES, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA and 8 CANADIAN PROVINCES have attended the five most recent CSG National Conferences.

which is the largest attendance in the past 10 years.

FIRST NATIONAL CONVENING of all regions and affiliated organizations in December 1983 during its



VIRGINIA 2002 + 2016

are the only states this century to host multiple CSG National Conferences.

Since 2002, Williamsburg, Virginia is the smallest city to host the CSG National Conference. Phoenix is the largest.

In the past 20 years, 17 states and one territory have hosted the CSG National Conference. 40

on behalf of csg, i move that the holidays be merry & bright!

Happy Holidays from all your friends at CSG.

without objection, so ordered.

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