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  • Meagan Dorsch
    Director of Public Affairs
  • Jon Kuhl
    Public Affairs Specialist
    Washington, D.C.
July 11, 2012

Top Policymakers and Experts to Speak at NCSL Legislative Summit

DENVER—Some of the most renowned policymakers and experts will discuss solutions to the toughest issues facing state legislatures at the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) 2012 Legislative Summit.

Speaking events will take place throughout the week of Aug. 6-9 at the McCormick Place West Convention Center in Chicago, Ill. State legislators, legislative staff and members of the media will hear from a broad range of experts on issues such as health reform, the current political climate, state budgets, pensions, social media, Internet gambling and the 2012 elections.

NCSL’s Legislative Summit is the largest and only event of its kind where legislators and staff from both political parties gather to discuss the challenging issues currently facing state governments. As a reporter, you will be able to gather dozens of story ideas, put local issues into a national context, and have several opportunities to meet and learn from other reporters, legislators and keynote speakers from across the country.

General Sessions

All general sessions will take place in MPW Skyline Ballroom - Level 3. Speakers include:

Diane Swonk, Economist
Chief economist for Mesirow Financial, Swonk has been named one of the top economic forecasters in the country by the Wall Street Journal. She acts as adviser to Federal Reserve Board and regional Reserve Banks, and is one of the world’s most respected economists and among the most quoted in the financial press. Monday, Aug. 6, 1:30 p.m.

Peter Hart and Neil Newhouse, Pollsters
Hart is one of the leading analysts of public opinion in the United States. The National Journal named Hart to its select list of leaders who shape federal government policy, describing him as "the foremost Washington pollster for the Democratic Party and its centrist candidates." Newhouse is a partner and co-founder of a national political and public affairs research firm that The New York Times describes as "the leading Republican polling company" in the country. Together, these two will discuss the political divide in our country and what lies ahead in the 2012 election season. Tuesday, Aug. 7, 9:00 a.m.

John Engler, former Michigan governor and current head of the Business Roundtable; 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
These panelists will participate in a lively discussion on the different roles government and business can play in creating jobs. Thursday, Aug. 9, 9-10:15 am

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Historian
An acclaimed historian, Pulitzer Prize winner, and captivating speaker, Goodwin has written books on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, the Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, Lyndon Johnson and Abraham Lincoln. This year, she will be speaking on 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. Thursday, Aug. 9, 12:30 p.m.

A sampling of other speakers include:

  • Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, opening remarks
  • Jack Abramoff, former lobbyist, author and radio host
  • Laree Kiely, award-winning organizational expert and founder of the Kiely Group
  • Erica Borggren, director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • Mary Crane, Mary Crane & Associates, New York

All meetings held in conjunction with NCSL’s Legislative Summit are open to the press. Registration is required, but free to credentialed members of the media. Please review NCSL media policy before registering.

Online registration is open until July 16. After that, members of the media must register in Chicago in NCSL’s press room at the McCormick Place West Convention Center during business hours.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.