Nashville—Speaker Robin Vos of Wisconsin, became the 47th president of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) at the annual Legislative Summit in Nashville. Vos, a Republican, succeeds Democratic Senator Toi Hutchinson of Illinois.
NCSL, a bipartisan organization that serves the nation’s 7,383 state lawmakers and more than 20,000 legislative staff throughout the country, alternates its leadership annually between the two parties.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues from around the country as the new NCSL president,” said Vos. “Having been involved with NSCL for several years, I have seen time and time again how NCSL has served as the premier voice for states both in the valuable resources NCSL provides to our members but the advocacy efforts, on behalf of states, in Washington, D.C.
“In this role, I will continue to represent my home state of Wisconsin and work to advocate for a greater reliance on federalism to allow states to innovate and find solutions for the issues facing our country today.”
Vos has served as the 75th speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly since 2013. In the preceding years, he served consecutively in the Wisconsin State Assembly beginning in 2004.
During his time as speaker, the legislature has approved one of the largest tax cuts in Wisconsin history and became the nation’s 25th right-to-work state. He also is proud of the bipartisan work in the Assembly where more than 90 percent of the bills passed receive bipartisan support. His speaker's task forces have developed important legislation on topics including mental health, rural schools, Alzheimer's and dementia, urban education, youth workforce readiness and foster care.
Other officers elected were:
Hawaii Speaker Scott Saiki (D), president-elect. Saiki has served as the speaker of the Hawai‘i House of Representatives since May 2017. He had previously served as majority leader. He has been an active member of NCSL and served on the Task Force on State and Local Taxation as well as the NCSL Executive Committee. Saiki was born in Honolulu. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa and his J.D. from the University of Hawai‘i's William S. Richardson School of Law.
Martha Wigton, Georgia House Budget and Research Office director, staff chair. Wigton has worked for the Georgia General Assembly since 1991, first in the Lieutenant Governor’s Office as executive assistant for policy and budget and later as chief of staff. Since 2011 she has served as director of the House Budget and Research Office where she provides policy and fiscal analysis to 180 members as well as furnishes the professional staff for all 38 legislative standing committees. Wigton has been an active member of NCSL since 2011, most recently serving on the NCSL Executive Committee.
J.J. Gentry, South Carolina Senate counsel, staff vice chair. Gentry has worked for the South Carolina Legislature since 2001, first with the House Education and Public Works Committee, and, since December 2016, with the Senate Ethics Committee. His current responsibilities include acting as a consultant to legislators and legislative staff, monitoring the ethical conduct of legislators and legislative staff, conducting research, drafting legislation, facilitating hearings and meetings, and handling constituent and media relations. He has served as co-chair of the NCSL Law and Criminal Justice Committee and has served on NCSL's Executive Committee.
NCSL is governed by a 63-member Executive Committee, elected yearly, which includes both legislators and staff, under the leadership of seven officers.
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.