NCSL Executive Committee: Officers' Biographical Information

11/9/2021
 

Speaker Scott Saiki, Hawaii

NCSL President
Speaker Scott Saiki (D)
Speaker of the House
Hawaii

Capitol Office
Hawaii State House of Representatives
State Capitol 
Room 431
514 S. Beretania St.
Honolulu, HI 96813 
808- 586-6100

Speaker Scott Saiki was first elected to the Hawaii State House of Representatives in 1994, where he has served as majority leader, chair of the Labor Committee, chair of the Hawaiian Affairs Committee and co-chair of the Senate-House Investigative Committee. The Democrat, who represents the state’s 26th district, was named House speaker in 2017.

Born in Honolulu, Saiki received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and his law degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s William S. Richardson School of Law. His law practice focuses on personal injury and disability cases.  

 

Idaho Speaker Scott Bedke

President-Elect
Speaker Scott Bedke (R)
Speaker of the House
Idaho

Capitol Office
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720-0038
208-332-1000

Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke is a native of Twin Falls. He graduated from Oakley High School and received a bachelor’s degree in finance from Brigham Young University.

Bedke has been elected to 10 terms representing District 27 in the Idaho House of Representatives. In December 2012 he was elected speaker of the house and is currently serving his fourth two-year term as speaker. His previous committee assignments included Revenue and Taxation, Appropriations, Education, Transportation and Natural Resources committees.

Bedke has spent his entire life in the livestock industry and has a keen interest in preserving and protecting Idaho's vast natural resources. Bedke is a fourth-generation rancher and with his brother owns and operates Wincecup Inc., raising cattle south and west of Oakley, Idaho, as well as in Elko County, Nev. Bedke is a former president of Idaho Cattle Association and former director of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Bedke and his wife, Sarah, have four children and 12 grandchildren.

 

Brian Patrick Kennedy, Rhode Island

Vice President 
Speaker Pro Tempore Brian Patrick Kennedy (D)
Speaker Pro Tempore
Rhode Island

Capitol Office
State House Room 201
Providence, RI 02903
401-222-6580 

Representative Brian Patrick Kennedy was first elected to the Rhode Island House of Representatives during the election of November 1988 and is a member of the Democratic majority party in the Rhode Island General Assembly. Kennedy is the speaker pro tempore and presides in the absence of the speaker and serves in the House leadership. Kennedy served as the chairman of the House Committee on Corporations for 20 years, where he worked on legislation dealing with all aspects of insurance, banking and financial services, telecommunications, public utilities and energy matters, affordable housing, health care and consumer protection. Kennedy is also the dean of the Rhode Island House.

Kennedy is a long-time member of NCSL and has served in multiple positions as a chair, co-chair and vice-chair, Executive Committee member and NCSL Foundation member. Kennedy is a past president of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators and serves as a legislative member of the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission. Kennedy is a graduate of Chariho Regional High School in Wood River Junction, R.I., and received a bachelor of arts degree from Providence College with a double major in history and general social studies in 1983. Kennedy continued his studies at Anna Maria College and graduated in 1986-87 with a Master of Business Administration degree. He is a certified residential real estate appraiser and real estate broker, and owns Kennedy Realty Appraisal in Hopkinton, R.I.

 

Speaker Robin Vos, Wisconsin

President Emeritus
Speaker Robin Vos (R)
Speaker of the Assembly 
Wisconsin

Capitol Office
Wisconsin State Legislature 
State Capitol 
PO Box 8953 
Madison, WI 53708-8953
608-266-917

Speaker Robin Vos was first elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 2004 and is currently serving his seventh term as a state representative. Vos is the 75th speaker of the Assembly. He was chosen by his Assembly peers for that post in 2011. Vos previously served as the chair of the powerful Joint Finance Committee.

Vos currently leads a Republican majority of 64 representatives, the largest since 1957. Under his leadership, the Legislature has approved one of the largest tax cuts in Wisconsin history and became the 25th right-to-work state in our country. He also is proud of the bipartisan work in the Assembly where more than 90 percent of the bills passed receive bipartisan support. His speaker's task forces have developed important legislation on topics including mental health, rural schools, Alzheimer's and dementia, urban education and youth workforce readiness.

Born in 1968, Vos is a lifelong Racine County resident, graduating from Burlington High School in 1986. He attended the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, where he served as a UW Board of Regents student member from 1989 to 1991. Vos graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in political science and a minor in public relations in 1991.

After college, Vos worked as a legislative assistant for state Representative Jim Ladwig from Racine County. He also worked for Ladwig's successor, his wife, state Representative Bonnie Ladwig. He also served as the district director for then U.S. Representative Mark Neumann until he began his first small business.

In 1996, he purchased Rojos Popcorn in Burlington–a popcorn packaging company that he still operates today. Vos also owns several other small businesses including the Union Grove Car Wash in Union Grove, Knights Popcorn in Milwaukee and rental properties in Whitewater.

While building his businesses, Vos never lost his passion for politics. He was elected as a Racine County Board supervisor in 1994. He served on the board until 2004 when he was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly.

 

J.J. Gentry, South Carolina

Staff Chair 
J.J. Gentry
Counsel
South Carolina Senate Ethics Committee 

Capitol Office
P.O. Box 142
Columbia, SC  29202 
803-212-6306

J.J Gentry has worked for the South Carolina Legislature since 2001, serving with the House Education and Public Works Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Ethics Committee. His current responsibilities include acting as a consultant to legislators and legislative staff, monitoring the ethical conduct of legislators and legislative staff, conducting research, drafting legislation, facilitating hearings and meetings, and handling constituent and media relations. He has served in various other NCSL leadership positions during his time.

 

Anne Sappenfield, Wisconsin

Staff Vice Chair 
Anne Sappenfield
Director
Wisconsin Legislative Council

Capitol Office
1 E. Main St. #401
Madison, WI 53703P.O. Box 142
608-266-1304

Anne Sappenfield serves as director of the Wisconsin Legislative Council. She leads a staff of 24 who provide committee staffing, legal and policy research to members of the Legislature. She has been active since 2006 with NCSL’s standing committees, serving as staff chair of the overall standing committees and staff chair of the Standing Committee on Human Services. She is a past chair of the Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff association, a professional staff association of NCSL.

 

Martha Wigton, Georgia

Immediate Past Staff Chair
Martha Wigton
Director
House Budget and Research Office
Georgia

Capitol Address
412 Coverdell Legislative Office Building
18 Capitol Square SW
Atlanta, GA 30334
404-656-5050

Martha Wigton has 28 years of executive-level legislative experience, including working directly with two lieutenant governors and four Georgia House of Representatives speakers. She has extensive knowledge of Georgia’s political process and specializes in the areas of policy, budget, strategy and office management.

Wigton currently serves as the director of Georgia’s nonpartisan House Budget and Research Office where she oversees the development of spending policy and priorities for the state’s annual supplemental and general appropriations acts, with a focus on multi-billion-dollar budgeting across all three branches of Georgia state government.

Before working in the House Budget and Research Office, where she also served as deputy director and speaker’s policy director, she was the director of the Senate Research Office, executive assistant for policy and budget and acting chief of staff in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.

Wigton has a bachelor’s degree in English from Georgia Southern University. Recent professional awards and activities include serving as a member of the NCSL executive committee since 2015, being named a Henry Toll Fellow by the Council of State Governments in 2016 and winning the 2016 Legislative Staff Leadership Award by the National Association of Legislative Fiscal Officers.