By Tim Storey

Lawmakers tour the Gettysburg battlefield.I am the coordinator of NCSL’s special programs for legislative leaders and general legislative training, and I’ve been at NCSL for nearly 25 years. During that time, I’ve been extraordinarily fortunate to participate in some top-notch professional development programs. A recent leadership development program that NCSL staged for legislative leaders at the battlefield in Gettysburg, Penn., however, was perhaps the most impressive, and “sticky” program that I’ve seen.

In partnership with Academy Leadership, a training firm run by military academy alumni, NCSL hosted 15 leaders from different legislatures around the country at Gettysburg. They learned that decisions made by battlefield commanders 150 years ago in what some historians see as the most pivotal battle in American history can offer some amazing lessons for leaders today. Being a legislative leader is demanding and complicated. In some ways, it’s just like being a leader in any setting. On the other hand, there’s no leadership role exactly like leading in the legislative arena. On the final day of the experience, the leaders who attended developed a personal leadership philosophy to help them understand their own priorities and tendencies. They spent time thinking about how to communicate their philosophies to their teams. To a person, everyone who attended gave the program top marks and left with new tools to help them improve as leaders.

Colorado Senator Ellen Roberts (R) was one of the legislators who traveled to Pennsylvania. Her post-trip op-ed about the experience captures the value of the program far better than I have here. You can read her article in the Durango Herald.

If you are interested in NCSL’s Gettysburg Leadership Experience or any of the programs that NCSL offers for legislative leaders, please contact me at    

Tim Storey directs leadership services and legislator training for NCSL. 


Lawmakers and guides pose at the Gettysburg battlefield.Lawmakers and guides pose at the Gettysburg battlefield.




Utah Senator Curt BrambleUtah Senate President Pro Tem Curt Bramble (R), NCSL's vice president, snaps a shot of a "Union soldier" at Gettysburg.









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This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.


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