Legislative Effectiveness Committee | 2015 Legislative Summit Agenda


Summit agendaJoin us in Seattle Aug. 3-6 for the largest legislative gathering in the nation. The Summit is the meeting where Republicans and Democrats come together to work on the nation’s pressing problems, share experiences and influence federal policy.

On this page, you'll find all sessions of the Legislative Effectiveness Committee as well as the "Marketing the Citizen Legislator" issue forum. The list below includes all issue forum sessions and standing committee sessions.

For more information, visit the 2015 Legislative Summit website. See you in Seattle!

Legislator Co-Chair: Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams, Nev.

Legislator Co-Chair: Senator Elaine S. Bowers, Kan.

Legislator Vice Chair: Representative Kristin Conzet, S.D.

Legislator Vice Chair: Representative Mike McKell, Utah

Legislator Vice Chair: Representative Susan Westrom, Ky.

Legislative Staff Co-Chair: Jen Carlton, Ind.

Legislative Staff Co-Chair: Connie Ridley, Tenn.

Legislative Staff Vice Chair: Denise Weeks, N.C.

Legislative Staff Vice Chair: Chris Kashman, Ind.

Legislative Staff Vice Chair: Mary Quaid, La.

Legislative Staff Vice Chair: Lesley Crane, Ind.


Monday, Aug. 3
Time Sessions
9 a.m.-noon

Courageous Conversations: Digging Deep for Success

Sheraton Seattle Hotel, Redwood B, Main Building, Second Floor


Explore one important factor that often holds women back from being the most effective leaders we could be: ourselves. Using humor and examples, we will explore how closely tied our success is with our ability to initiate and navigate courageous (aka difficult!) conversations. Discuss how to give feedback to a colleague, address the seemingly intractable challenge within your caucus, propose the bold idea you've been sitting on or acknowledge the "elephant in the subcommittee" that everyone has been avoiding. In this lively, thought-provoking session, you’ll learn how to: 

  • Identify the factors that are holding you back from speaking up 
  • Increase your skills and confidence in how to identify and prepare for important conversations 
  • Articulate strategies to navigate high-stakes conversations effectively 
  • Connect with your peers to access the collective wisdom in the room, sharing success stories and lessons learned

Facilitator: Sara Lawson, Shorthand Consulting, Wash.

Sponsored by the Women's Legislative Network and co-sponsored by NCSL's Legislative Effectiveness Committee.

1:30-4 p.m.

Returning to Trust Workshop: A Process for Rebuilding a Critical Infrastructure

Washington State Convention Center, W201, Level 2


The culture of the legislature is changing, and most people believe it is a change for the worse. At the heart is decreasing trust among members, staff, and the people they serve, and the belief that legislatures can effectively solve complex social problems. The Returning to Trust program is a facilitator-led, interactive learning experience designed to teach participants how to reestablish the connections, practices, values and organizational culture that build trust.

What you’ll learn:

  • Thorough discussions and exercises get at the reasons that people say the “fun” has gone out of legislative service.
  • Identify values critical to the effectiveness of state legislatures.
  • Learn how to set goals and take actions that foster a culture of civility, respect and trust within our treasured institutions.
  • Take home new tools, skills and an action plan to begin similar discussions in your state capitol.

Welcome: Senator Elaine S. Bowers, Kan.; Connie Ridley, director of Administration, Tennessee General Assembly



Senator Elaine S. Bowers, Kan.

Ted Celeste, director, Next Generation program at the National Institute for Civil Discourse, Ohio



Diane Douglas, executive director, Seattle City Club, Wash.

Representative Sam Hunt, Wash.

Carolyn Lukensmeyer, executive director, National Institute for Civil Discourse, Ariz.

Darren Nichols, association director, William D. Ruckelshaus Center, Wash.

Representative Hans Zeiger, Wash.

4-5 p.m.

When the Voters Decide: The Role of Ballot Measures in Making Law

Washington State Convention Center, W204, Level 2


Marijuana, abortion, guns, gambling—what do they all have in common? They all have appeared on statewide election ballots in recent years. Ballot measures are particularly common in the Pacific Northwest. Find out how Washington and Oregon manage this process, including citizen’s review processes—and what impact they may have on turnout.


Moderator: Jennie Drage Bowser, political consultant, Ore.

Panelists: Tyrone Reitman, Healthy Democracy, Ore.

Speaker Joe Fain, Wash.


Sponsored by NCSL’s Redistricting and Elections Committee and co-sponsored by NCSL’s Legislative Effectiveness Committee.

Tuesday, Aug. 4
9:45-11:15 a.m.

Mentoring in a Legislative Environment

Washington State Convention Center, W201, Level 2


New legislators and staff enter the fast-paced legislative environment with unique experiences and expertise, but still need to become acclimated to their legislature and its processes, procedures, customs and traditions. One-on-one mentoring programs are one strategy to help legislators and staff learn about formalized procedures and unspoken rules. Learn about existing mentoring programs and examine the benefits and challenges of establishing mentoring relationships.


Moderator: Assemblymember Irene Bustamante Adams, Nev.


Panelists: Representative Rosie M. Berger, Wyo.

Mary Quaid, executive director, House Legislative Services, La.  Handout

Dan Schmidt, principal analyst and operations manager, Legislative Council, Wis.  Handout

11:15-11:30 a.m. Break
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Legislative Effectiveness Committee Business Meeting and Lunch
Washington State Convention Center, W201, Level 2


Hear a briefing on NCSL’s Hewlett Foundation-sponsored study of polarization and policymaking. Review current activities and discuss agenda options for the committee’s December meeting in Washington, D.C.



Senator Elaine S. Bowers, Kan.

Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams, Nev.

Connie Ridley, director of Administration, Tennessee General Assembly


Speaker: Brian Weberg, NCSL

1-1:15 p.m. Break
1:15-3:15 p.m.

Designing Constituent Meetings

Washington State Convention Center, W201, Level 2


Legislators have the power to convene constituents and stakeholders and engage them in meaningful conversations. However, in today’s world, leading effective public meetings has become increasingly difficulty. Controversial topics, increased polarization and tight economic times heighten the stakes when citizens come together to tackle public policy issues. A lack of confidentiality, the role of the media and evolving technology further complicate the process. Designing and facilitating effective public meetings requires coolness, clarity, courage and skill. Learn how to address the challenges of engaging impassioned constituents in constructive conversation.


Moderator: Representative Susan Westrom, Ky.

Facilitator: Dave Joseph, Public Conversations Project, Mass.  PowerPoint

3:15-3:30 p.m. Break
3:30-5 p.m.

Marketing the Citizen Legislator

Professional Development Track Issue Forum

Washington State Convention Center, W201, Level 2


In the constant communications cycle, legislators need to get out their own message using traditional and new media platforms. Hear from marketing professionals about the best communication tools and strategies for effective outreach and promotion and learn how marketing-savvy legislators build their brand and maintain their exposure.


Moderator: Representative Mike McKell, Utah


Presenter and Facilitator: Kimburly Ervin, Pyramid Communications, Wash. (invited)



Barbara Cairns, Pyramid Communications, Wash. (invited)

Senator Aaron D. Ford, Nev.

Representative Matt Hudson, Fla.


Sponsored by the Young and New Professionals Group and cosponsored by NCSL's Legislative Effectiveness Committee.