Tucson Legislative Leadership: the Path Forward | Dec. 11-13, 2013


NCSL’s meeting exclusively for legislative leaders in Tucson, Ariz., Dec. 11-13 will be at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. The program focuses on current issues, the economy, state budgets and leadership skills. This meeting is only for Senate presidents, Senate pro tems, House speakers, House speaker pro tems, as well as majority and minority leaders. This year's leadership conference will be preceded by a meeting for legislative fiscal chairs from Dec. 10-12.  Some sessions will be hosted jointly.

Time Sessions

1-5 p.m.


2-2:30 p.m.

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Welcome and Introductions


Moderator: Senator Bruce Starr, NCSL President, Oregon

2:30-3:30 p.m.

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Leadership thoughts from a Statesman and an Astronaut

Jake Garn represented Utah with distinction in the U.S. Senate for nearly two decades. During that time, he chaired the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee and became the first sitting member of Congress to fly in space when he flew aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery as a payload specialist. After his mission to space, he retired from the Senate and the Utah Air National Guard as a Brigadier General. Garn will reflect on his extraordinary career in public service and what it taught him about being a leader with integrity who could get things done.


Moderator: Senator Curt Bramble, Senate President Pro Tempore, NCSL Vice-President, Utah

Speaker: Senator Jake Garn, Utah
3:30-4 p.m. Break

4-5 p.m.

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The Economic Big Picture and What it Means for States

The economy and the jobs market appear to be on the mend after a long and grueling recession.  But is the momentum strong enough to continue solid growth? Will sequestration take a bite out of 2013, and can an energized private sector offset any economic damage? Where does the U.S. economy stand and what does 2014 look like.


Moderator: Senator Bruce Starr, NCSL President, Oregon

Speaker: Beth Ann Bovino, Chief U.S. Economist, Standard & Poor's, New York

    download presentation


7:30-11 a.m.


7:30-9 a.m.

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Breakfast Session – Investing in Programs That Work

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative, a project of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, works with states to implement an innovative cost-benefit analysis approach that helps them invest in policies and programs that are proven to work. This approach can help policymakers make informed decisions about allocating limited resources by estimating the long-term costs and benefits of public programs and by comparing options and identifying those that can most cost-effectively achieve the desired policy outcomes. This session will provide an overview of this approach and attendees will hear from state policymakers that are working with Results First to implement this approach.


Speakers: Gary VanLandingham, Results First, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Washington, D.C.

                    download - Pew case study

                    download - Pew Results First

                    download presentation

                           Senator Eugene "Buck" Clarke, Chair, Senate Appropriations Committee,


               Speaker Terie Norelli, New Hampshire

9:15-10:30 a.m.

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The Battle over the Federal Budget—Implications for States and Next Fall’s Elections

Conferees in Congress are meeting to hammer out a federal budget deal (again) before the next deadline in mid-January. One of Washington’s keenest political observers, Amy Walter, Cook Political Report and former political director of ABC News, will give her perspective on where things stand with the federal budget and implications for the 2014 elections.


Moderator: Speaker Terie Norelli, NCSL Immediate-Past President, New Hampshire

Speaker: Amy Walter, National Editor, Cook Political Report, Washington, D.C. 

10:30-10:45 a.m.


10:45 a.m.-Noon

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Leading in Turbulent Times

Former Southwest Airlines CEO Howard Putnam knows about leading during challenging times. He guided the fledgling carrier through airline deregulation and the development and implementation of a business "vision" that led Southwest to revered heights over the past twenty years. Southwest tripled in size and tripled in profitability during his tenure, and today remains a model for organizations that put their people first in their culture and reap the rewards. You will receive a copy of Putnam’s book, The Winds of Turbulence.


Moderator: Senator Debbie Smith, Senate Assistant Majority Floor Leader, Nevada

Speaker: Howard Putnam, former CEO, Southwest Airlines, Nevada

  download presentation

Noon-1:15 p.m. Lunch

1:30 -2:45 p.m.

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The Secrets to Being a Great Communicator

Whether it’s in caucus, in a press conference, in one-on-one meetings or through the various channels used to get your message out, being an effective communicator can make or break you as a leader.

Moderator: Senator Bruce Starr, NCSL President, Oregon

Speaker: Teri Lucie Thompson, Senior Vice President for University Relations and Chief Marketing Officer, University of Arizona

2:45-3 p.m.


3-4 p.m.

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An All Star’s Tips for Being a Successful Legislative Leader

During his years in Major League Baseball, Steve Sax played a key role on two Los Angeles Dodgers World Series championship teams and played in the Major League All Star game five times. His baseball career was on the verge of implosion and he had to deal with ridicule, self doubt, humility, and near collapse before a national audience. Yet, he overcame all of that to emerge once again as one of the game’s finest players. He is now a highly acclaimed speaker on leadership and achieving personal and career goals.

Moderator: Senator Bruce Starr, NCSL President, Oregon

Speaker: Steve Sax, former Los Angeles Dodger and MLB All Star, California

6-8:30 p.m.

Reception and dinner at the University of Arizona

Transportation will be provided

8:30-10 p.m.

Dessert and Hospitality Reception at Loews Ventana Canyon


8-9 a.m.


9-10:15 a.m.

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The Power of Persuasion: Concepts and Techniques for Legislative Leaders

Learn how to make your points most effectively and gain vital support for your ideas. What does the latest neuroscience research tell us about how people make decisions? How can these tools help you achieve your goal of being a successful leader?

Moderator: Senator Debbie Smith, Senate Assistant Majority Floor Leader, Nevada

Speaker: Curt Stedron, Dais Consulting, Colorado

  download presentation

10:15-10:30 a.m.


10:30-11:45 a.m.

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What they Don’t Teach you in Legislative Leadership School

Being a top leader in a legislative chamber often entails more headaches than prestige.  Scandals, illness, caucus squabbles and downright bad judgment by your members are problems that too often land on your doorstep. This session will delve into some of the more difficult and less predictable challenges that confront legislative leaders and suggest ways to effectively address them.

Moderator: Christopher Rants, former Speaker of the House, Iowa

Panelists: Rod Jetton, former Speaker of the House, Missouri

             John Gregg, former Speaker of the House, Indiana
11:45 a.m.