Challenges of Leadership

Photos of legislative leaders and administration officialsThe activity in a busy legislative session often leaves little time to reflect on leadership and all the job entails. NCSL invited a small group of legislative leadership from across the country to a three-day meeting in Washington, D.C., Feb. 16-18, 2011, to meet with members of Congress, members of the president's Cabinet, experts from business and academia and former leaders to discuss themtriad challenges they face. This is the meeting's agenda.

NCSL Leaders' Center
Leaders' meeting full agenda
Video: 10 legislative leaders discuss the challenges facing states
Video: Experts discuss the economic challenges facing the states




Day 1| Day 2 | Day 3|

Wednesday, Feb. 16

 1:30-2:15 p.m.

A Look at the Political Landscape with Charlie Cook

With a divided government in Washington, what are the prospects for major legislation? As the 2012 presidential race quietly shifts into high gear, how will that drive policy debates? What does all this mean for states? Charlie Cook is the highly regarded publisher of the Cook Political Report.

Presiding: Senator Richard Moore, Massachusetts, NCSL President

2:15-3:30 p.m.

Discussion with Senator Richard Durbin, Assistant Majority Leader, U.S. SenatePresiding: Senator Pamela Althoff, Illinois


5:15-5:30 p.m.

Board buses to the U.S. Capitol 

6-7 p.m. 

Reception at U.S. Capitol Honoring Former State Legislators in the 112th Congress

Thursday, February 17

 8:15 a.m.


8:30-9:15 a.m.

Discussion with Congressman Tom Price, Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee

Georgia Congressman Price serves on the Ways and Means Committee and the Budget Committee. He will discuss his party’s priorities for the 112th Congress.

Presiding: Senator Don Balfour, Georgia, NCSL Immediate Past President

9:15-10:30 a.m.

Working with Congress

Join former state legislators who are now members of Congress for a lively discussion of the relationship between state legislatures and Congress and how to make it more effective.

Presiding: Assemblymember Fiona Ma, California, Speaker Pro Tem
Faculty: Congressman Jim Costa, California
Congressman Pete Roskam, Illinois

10:30 a.m.-Noon 

Executive Briefing: New Federal Budget Proposals and the States

On Monday, President Obama released his proposed FY 2012 budget. One of the nation’s top experts on the federal budget, Marcia Howard the Executive Director of Federal Funds Information for the States, will break down the president’s budget and share her insight on how it could impact state budgets. She will also look at the key Republican proposals being considered in Congress. What do these first moves in the prolonged federal budget process foreshadow for states?

Presiding: Representative Joe Hackney, North Carolina, House Minority Leader

Noon-1:30 p.m. 

America’s Prosperity: On the Decline or Ready for Resurgence?

Americans are concerned about government spending and the growth of the federal deficit. How will Congress and the administration address deficit spending? What happens if they don’t? Will states benefit from deficit reduction? How can states work with the federal government to reduce the deficit?

Presiding: Representative Terie Norelli, New Hampshire, NCSL Vice President

PPT iconFaculty: Alison Acosta Fraser, Director of Economic Policy Studies for the Heritage Foundation


1:30-2:15 p.m.  

Conversation with Congressman Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Whip

California Congressman Kevin McCarthy is the new House majority whip, the third-ranking leadership position in his caucus. Serving his third term in the U.S. House, Representative McCarthy is a member of the Financial Services Committee. He will discuss the House leadership’s priorities and policy goals.

Presiding: Senator Steve Morris, Kansas, NCSL President-elect

2:30-3:15 p.m.


Fiscal Status of the States

Legislatures face unprecedented challenges once again in balancing state budgets during the 2011 legislative session. Corina Eckl, NCSL’s fiscal expert, will share the latest data on state fiscal conditions.

Presiding: Senator Richard Moore, Massachusetts, NCSL President

3:15-4 p.m.

Roundtable Discussion: The States’ Agenda for the 112th Congress

Presiding: Senator Richard Moore, Massachusetts, NCSL President

4-5 p.m.

Reducing Health Care Costs Through Technology: Electronic Health Records

What does the federal Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program mean for states? The program is aimed at improving the “economic and clinical health” of the nation with the use of EHR technology at the state level, reducing costs and increasing the quality of health care services. Is your state ready for the transition?
From the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, we have.

Presiding: Senator Richard Moore, Massachusetts, NCSL President

Faculty: Kim Barnes, Virginia HIT Coordinator
Michelle Mills, Technical Director, Center for Medicaid, CHIP, and Survey & Certification, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Mari Savickis, Assistant Director of Federal Affairs & Outreach, American Medical Assn.

5:30-6:30 p.m.

Reception at The Willard Hotel

Sponsored by the NCSL Foundation for State Legislatures

6:30-8 p.m.

Dinner, The Occidental
Friday, Feb. 18

 8:15-9:45 a.m.

The Federal Government is Creating Unwarranted Energy Risk to the States: A Conversation with John Hofmeister, former CEO of Shell Oil

Eight presidents and 19 Congresses have been unable to agree on the nation’s energy future. The states risk loss of competitiveness, high costs, energy scarcity and environmental harm as a consequence. How can the states help to remedy this indecisiveness?

Presiding: Senator Steve Morris, Kansas, NCSL President-elect


9:45-11:15 a.m

Meetings with Administration Officials

Legislative leaders will have the opportunity to talk with key cabinet members on critical state-federal issues such as the economy, transportation, health care reform and education.

Presiding: Senator Richard Moore, Massachusetts. NCSL President

Faculty: Secretary Ray LaHood, Department of Transportation
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Department of Health and Human Services

11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

The Art of Being a Legislative Leader

It's tough; it's challenging; it's rewarding. As a leader, you face new challenges seemingly every hour. In this session, nationally recognized legislative leaders will share advice for effective leadership and how to rise to the challenge of this vital role. Among other things, participants will discuss managing the process, delegating the workload, majority-minority relations, legislative-executive relations, disciplining members and ethics.

Moderator: Bill Purcell, former Majority Leader, Tennessee House of Representatives

Faculty: Mary Panzer, former Majority Leader, Wisconsin Senate
Christopher Rants, former Speaker, Iowa House of Representatives
Andrew Romanoff, former Speaker, Colorado House of Representatives

1:15-2:15 p.m.

Staying on Message and Thriving in the New Media Environment

The media landscape is undergoing tectonic shifts. Learn tricks of the trade at this session about the do’s and don’ts of effective media relations. How can you make the most of press opportunities? What does this mean for you as a leader trying to get your message out while avoiding pitfalls?

PPT iconFaculty: Gene Rose, Director, NCSL Director of Communications