Stivers on Harvard Panel

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers recently joined a panel of government leaders to discuss the topic, “Governing and Legislating in Divided Times” at the 2017 National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) held in Boston, Massachusetts. In conjunction with Harvard University, NCSL convened top legislative leaders from around the country for in-depth discussions about governance and democracy.


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There were 65 Senate Presidents, House Speakers, and Majority/Minority leaders who attended this bipartisan event at the Harvard Faculty Club in Cambridge. The highlight of the program was the panel discussion which featured Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and multiple Harvard faculty members who specialize in governance issues, in addition to Senate President Stivers.

“To be on the campus of Harvard while speaking to such a distinguished group was a humbling experience,” Stivers said. “We had some great discussions about governing more effectively and trying to put politics aside for the betterment of the public.”

Below is the full list of guests on the NCSL Leaders-Only panel:

· Senator John Cullerton, Senate President, Illinois

· Senator Robert Stivers, Senate President, Kentucky

· Stephen Goldsmith, Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard University

· Jane Mansbridge, Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values, Malcom Wiener Center for Social Policy, Harvard University

· Miles Rapoport, Senior Fellow, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard University

“The event with top legislative leaders was quite extraordinary,” said Miles Rapoport. “It was great, high level, civil in a real sense, and genuinely hopeful for the state of our democracy in the states.”

The program featured remarks by each of the panelists as well as a robust discussion with the legislative leaders in the audience.

“Today’s political climate is challenging and it takes real skill to successfully navigate it,” said Corina Eckl, director of NCSL’s Leaders Center. “Senate Presidents Stivers and Cullerton were the perfect leaders for this panel because they provided authentic and practical take-home advice to their colleagues.”

NCSL is committed to improving the quality and effectiveness of state legislatures. Training programs specifically designed for legislative leaders are key to achieving that goal. The Harvard program was so successful that NCSL’s Leaders Center is exploring future collaborations with Harvard’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.