21st Annual State Directors Conference & 11th Biennial First Term Legislators Conference

The program swore in WIG’s 2015 Board of Directors, a bipartisan group of legislators from across the country, adding four new members to the ranks. WIG also swore in its new State Directors, women in a position of leadership that represent both chambers from state legislatures nationwide. First term legislators elected in November 2014 were invited to the conference to network and learn from veteran legislators before they jump into their first sessions.
The conference featured sessions on healthcare. One session on prescription drug abuse featured Massachusetts state Senator Jen Flanagan and the Honorable Mary Bono, a former United States congresswomen who represented California’s Inland Empire and Desert Region in the House of Representatives from 1998-2013. Senator Flanagan’s role as a Mental Health Counselor and Congresswoman Bono’s family struggles struck a chord with attendees, who were inspired by their policy accomplishments on this issue. The complexities of biosimilars and related policy implications were explored and sessions on binge eating and malnutrition underscored WIG’s work on obesity.  To read more about the conference sessions and to access presentation materials, click here
In addition, programming featured higher education, child well-being measures via KIDS COUNT policy reports, and energy diversity. During the conference, legislators were provided with helpful tools to develop social media strategies by Brittany Brown, Community Manager for National Public Radio (NPR). Sessions on managing ethics issues and work/life balance were featured along with a separate session providing first term legislators invaluable advice from veteran legislators.
The conference also provided a special opportunity for legislators to discuss specific, pressing policy topics in their respective regions: West, Midwest, South, and East. The legislators identified access to internet, healthcare cost containment, job creation, transportation infrastructure, and higher education programs for working adults in their districts as key areas of concern. These breakout session policy goals will be featured at the 2015 Regional Conferences hosted by Women In Government.

To read more about all the conference sessions and access presentation materials click here. 
Embracing the concept of new ideas, WIG held a clothing drive in collaboration with the local chapter of Dress For Success, an organization that provides professional attire for disadvantaged women to prepare them for job interviews and professional careers. In an effort to pay it forward, WIG solicited donations for the organization and was pleased to receive many generous contributions that will greatly help women in the Tampa Bay area.
Overall the conference was a huge success, with Representative Amanda Price (MI) praising the “great networking” opportunities.  Representative Barbara Bollier (KS) raved that the conference was “The best one yet!” and Representative Joanne Ward (NH) stated that the programming “has provided me with a wealth of information & the confidence to proceed on some issues I did not feel I knew enough about.” Women In Government aims to provide all women state legislators with quality research and resources to empower them to make the best decisions in their communities, and by all accounts the 21st Annual State Directors’ & Eleventh Biennial First Term Legislators’ Conferences met this standard.
Women In Government is ready to reach new milestones throughout the Year of Innovation. With the efforts of its dedicated staff and members, WIG aims to spread this commitment to fresh ideas, effective partnerships, and critical policy research beyond its conferences to state legislatures across the country in 2015.