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Next-Gen Legislators Conference


  • Marriott Wardman Park Hotel 2660 Woodley Rd NW Washington, DC 20008 United States (map)

The Millennial Action Project (MAP) and National Conference of State Legislatures' Young and New Professionals (YNP) proudly hosted the Next-Gen Legislators pre-conference in Washington, DC on December 8-9, 2015.

Pictured: Rep. Drew Christensen (D-MN), Rep. Tom Demmer (R-IL), Rep. Dean Schamore (D-KY), Sen. Eric Lesser (D-MA), Sen. Tyson Larson (R-NE), Rep. Matt Trieber (D-VT), Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-IL), Delegate Cory McCray (D-MD), Sen. Anitere Flores (R-FL), Rep. James Sturch (R-AR), Rep. Raumesh Akbari (D-TN), Rep. Sarah Laszloffy (R-MT), Rep. Abigail Whelan (R-MN), Rep. Dan Forestal (D-IN), and Rep. Dan Zwonitzer (R-WY).

Pictured: Rep. Drew Christensen (D-MN), Rep. Tom Demmer (R-IL), Rep. Dean Schamore (D-KY), Sen. Eric Lesser (D-MA), Sen. Tyson Larson (R-NE), Rep. Matt Trieber (D-VT), Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-IL), Delegate Cory McCray (D-MD), Sen. Anitere Flores (R-FL), Rep. James Sturch (R-AR), Rep. Raumesh Akbari (D-TN), Rep. Sarah Laszloffy (R-MT), Rep. Abigail Whelan (R-MN), Rep. Dan Forestal (D-IN), and Rep. Dan Zwonitzer (R-WY).

This select group of 20 young state legislators held discussions on policy issues that transcend partisan divides and ways they can collaborate across state lines.

Click here for the full agenda.

L-R: Steven Olikara, Brandon Pollak, Dean Garfield, Representative Eric Johnson (D-TX) and Representative Beth Fukumoto Chang (R-HI)

L-R: Steven Olikara, Brandon Pollak, Dean Garfield, Representative Eric Johnson (D-TX) and Representative Beth Fukumoto Chang (R-HI)

To kick off the conference, industry experts and state legislators sparked a discussion about the modern economic and regulatory policy issues facing state governments. "The State of Innovation" panel featured Brandon Pollak, Director of Global Affairs at 1776, Dean Garfield, CEO at Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), Representative Eric Johnson (D-TX), Co-Chair of the Texas Future Caucus, and Representative Beth Fukumoto Chang (R-HI), Co-Chair of the Hawaii Future Caucus.

Afterwards, NCSL moderated a Q&A with state legislators in leadership positions called "Climbing the Legislative Career Ladder." Featured panelists included Representative Tyler August (R-WI), Speaker Pro Tem, Senator Aaron Ford (D-NV), Minority Leader, and Representative Jeff McCabe (D-ME), Majority Floor Leader. 

L-R: Stacy Householder, Representative Jeff McCabe (D-ME), Representative Tyler August (R-WI), and Senator Aaron Ford (D-NV)

L-R: Stacy Householder, Representative Jeff McCabe (D-ME), Representative Tyler August (R-WI), and Senator Aaron Ford (D-NV)

Members shared anecdotal stories and words of encouragement on the process and experience of being in leadership positions.

Members also participated in a roundtable discussion on emerging issues in the next legislative session. Joined by representatives from FanDuel and DraftKings, the group discussed how state governments need to be ahead of the curve in addressing the consumer and regulatory interests in fantasy sports. Other major issues included incorporating the sharing economy with Uber and Airbnb, mandating civics education for the next generation of leaders, innovative transportation funding mechanisms, and criminal justice reform.

Additional sessions included a professional development workshop led by Jesse Holcomb, Pew Research Center and Ethan Wilson, NCSL to provide social media and campaign communication tips. Attendees also discussed budgeting issues with NCSL's Luke Martel and learned best practices to take back to their state legislatures.

The first annual Next-Gen Legislators conference gathered for a celebratory reception with fellow legislators and next generation leaders.

Click here to see more pictures from the reception.


All images are credited to Liz Gorman Photography.