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Women's Legislative Network Events at the 2012 Legislative Summit 

August 6-9, 2012

Chicago, Illinois

Visit the Legislative Summit Resources page for complete post-meeting information, including archives of taped sessions.

Monday, August 6, 2012

8:30 am - 1:00 pm

McCormick Place

W 187abc

Level 1

The Supreme Court Decision on Health Care Law: What's Next?

NCS Task force on Federal Health Reform Implementation

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will reverberate throughout the states. This seminar explored what the ramifications of this landmark ruling mean for states.


12:00 pm -1:30 pm

McCormick Place

W 179a

Level 1

Women's Legislative Network Executive Board Meeting

Members discussed the Network's year at this summer board meeting of the Women's Legislative Network. Minutes available upon request.


1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

McCormick Place

Skyline Ballroom

Level 3

General Session Featuring Diane Swonk

Diane Swonk, chief economist for Mesirow Financial, has been named one of the top economic forecasters in the country by the Wall Street Journal. She acts as advisor to Federal Reserve Board and regional Reserve Banks, and is one of the most respected economists in the world and among the most quoted economists in the financial press.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

9:00 am -10:15 am

McCormick Place

Skyline Ballroom

Level 3

General Session Featuring Peter Hart and Neil Newhouse

Peter Hart and Neil Newhouse are two of the nation's leading pollsters. Newhouse is a partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies, a firm that The New York Times describes as "the leading Republican polling company" in the country. Peter Hart is "the foremost Washington pollster for the Democratic Party," according to the National Journal and is chairman of Peter D. Hart Research Associates.


12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

McCormick Place

W 470a

Level 4

Connecting to Citizens

NCSL Legislative Effectiveness Committee and the Women's Legislative Network

Legislators often list constituent service as their number one priority, but they may be on the lookout for ways to freshen up their practices. Veteran legislators shared some new strategies to sharpen their connections to constituents and attendees participated in roundtable discussions on the topic.

  • Moderator: Senate Majority Policy Leader Les Ihara, Jr., Hawaii
  • Panelists: Representative Rick Miera, New Mexico
  • Senator Ellen Roberts, Colorado
  • Presenter: Representative Jay Kaufman, Massachusetts (by video)

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

McCormick Place

W 176b

Level 1

Women's Legislative Network Roundtable Discussion

Members of the Women's Legislative Network of NCSL gathered for informal, bipartisan discussions on topics including women's health, women in politics, women in the military, financial stability, and the 2012 session.

  •  Presiding: Representative Marilyn B. Lee, Hawaii

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

McCormick Place

Skyline Pre-function

Level 3

Women's Legislative Network Reception

The Network honored incoming president Delaware Senator Dori Connor, the executive board, and female lawmakers from around the world.

Connor and Lee
Delaware Senator Dori Connor, incoming Network President, and Hawaii Representative Marilyn Lee, 2011-2012 Network President

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Museum of Science and Industry

Social Event: Windy City Welcome

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

11:00 am - 12:15 pm

McCormick Place

W 183c

Level 1

The New Venture Capitalist?

Silicon Valley investors are not the only ones investing venture capital into emerging technologies--some states are directly investing venture capital into early-stage, high-risk startup companies. One rust-belt state, Ohio, has created more than 60,000 jobs over 10 years through its venture capital fund, a program with widespread bipartisan support. Hear state venture capital success stories and learn how your state can create similar programs.

  •  Speaker: Ingrid Vanderveldt, Dell
Handout 1 Handout 2  |  Handout 3  |  Report - Ingrid Vanderveldt

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

McCormick Place

W 470b

Level 4

Women's Legislative Network Lunch and Business Meeting

The session began with the annual Network business meeting and elections.  Senator Dori Connor, Delaware, was elected president, and several other legislators were elected to new positions on the board. Legislators were also elected to the Advisory Council.
Following the business meeting was a panel presentation about women in the military and female veterans from Illinois experts.

Erica Borggren identified three issues unique to female veterans:
  1. They often don’t self-identify as veterans. (They may self-ID as “having served in uniform” but feel the word “veteran” doesn’t fit them). Providers don’t see women at VA events at the same rates as men. She recommends that providers and legislators consider the “imaging” when advertising events for veterans. Be sure the environment is welcoming to women.
  2. Military sexual trauma – women experience this at much higher rates than men. It is now recognized as a valid cause of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), just as valid as having been in combat.
  3. Many female veterans are caregivers. They may not be able to access veterans’ services because of child care issues. Female veterans who become homeless have a need for family shelters.
The Illinois Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs started their women veterans program with a survey to discover the population’s needs. They are hosting a conference in the fall about military sexual trauma.
Director Borggren offered several ideas for the audience. Consider whether VA centers in your state have women-specific veterans’ service officers. Consider creating a women-only honor guard. Take care to consider the “imaging” when advertising events for veterans in your community. Also consider offering child care at all veterans events.

Valerie Creedon noted that since the year 2000, the number of female veterans has doubled. Women are the fastest-growing segment of the veteran population. Twenty percent of newly-enlisting servicemembers are women. Only a small percentage of female veterans are accessing services, however. She noted that the VA is making an effort to increase the number of women veteran-specific service providers at medical centers around the country.
Dr. Kinna Patel noted that many VA medical sites don’t offer maternity care themselves, but they have agreements negotiated with community providers. She agreed that a big problem is that women are not accessing services available to them. Common reasons that female veterans access medical care include chronic pain, osteoporosis, maternity care, menopause, and sexual trauma. Providers are seeing more women accessing care for infertility treatments.
Jenny Garretson said that many VA centers have peer counseling and support groups. Some locations have women-specific breakout sessions, but this doesn’t exist everywhere yet. Some sites also have women-only addiction and substance abuse support groups. She noted that providers recognize the importance of screening women to learn whether they experienced military sexual trauma, as women often don’t want to disclose this right away.
Gaps that still exist in services for female veterans include assistance with transitioning to civilian life, counseling to support personal relationships, and employment assistance.
The panelists noted that there are many, many service providers and navigating the systems could be overwhelming for some people. They suggested that providers work together to be more coherent and collaborative. The state has launched Illinois Joining Forces, a website that will include referrals to all services available to veterans in one place.

Delaware Sen. Dori Connor Network board Panel
Delaware Senator Dori Connor Current and Former Network Board Members l-r Jenny Garretson, Kinna Patel, Valerie Creedon, Erica Borggren

Thursday, August 9, 2012

6:00 am - 7:30 am


Walk for Wellness

Cosponsored by The National Asian Pacific American Caucus of State Legislators, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, the National Caucus of Native American State Legislators, the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, the Women's Legislative Network of NCSL, the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee and the NCSL Health Committee.

Legislators, staff and friends came out for a 5K walk (or run) along Lake Michigan to raise awareness of chronic diseases and health disparities.
walk for wellness

NCSL gratefully acknowledges the support of the American Beverage Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Physical Therapy Association, HIMSS, the International Bottled Water Association, Nestle Waters North America, and Walmart.

9:00 am - 10:15 am

McCormick Place

Skyline Ballroom

Level 3

General Session on Jobs

John Engler, former Michigan governor and current head of the Business Roundtable, and Douglas Oberhelman, CEO of Caterpillar Inc., and Edward B. Rust Jr., CEO of State Farm Mutual and vice-chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, participated in a lively discussion on the different roles government and businesses can play in creating jobs. 


10:30 am - 12:15 pm

McCormick Place

W 375e

Level 3

NCSL Business Meeting

The Business Meeting includes consideration of policy resolutions that will guide NCSL's advocacy efforts before Congress and the administration, election of NCSL officers and approval of the Conference budget.

NCSL policy directives and resolutions.

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

McCormick Place

Skyline Ballroom

Level 3

General Session Featuring Doris Kearns Goodwin

Doris Kearns Goodwin, acclaimed historian, Pulitzer Prize winner, prolific author and captivating speaker, has written books on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, the Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, Lyndon Johnson and Abraham Lincoln. This year, she spoke about Teddy Roosevelt—legislator, president, bigger-than-life hero—and the leadership lessons we can learn from a time of economic and political turmoil that reverberate today.


6:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Millennium Park

Social Event: Musical Feast