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LINCOLN – Three of Nebraska’s Senators, Wendy DeBoer of District 10, Myron Dorn of District 30, and Lynne Walz of District 15, were among 36 select legislators to complete a leadership training program that identifies and assists emerging state and provincial leaders in the Midwest.
DeBoer, Dorn, and Walz met with lawmakers from ten other states and three Canadian provinces on August 9-13, in Minneapolis, for the Council of State Government’s 25th annual Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development (BILLD).
The three Nebraska senators learned about a variety of policy areas affecting the Midwest and exchanged strategies with the other lawmakers about returning civility to our political life and trying to lessen the partisanship which hampers the legislative process. DeBoer, Dorn, and Walz say they will bring those lessons back to the Unicameral to share with their colleagues and help Nebraska make better laws through more cooperation in the Legislature.
“As Senators, I have always believed our first priority should be passing the best laws for all Nebraskans, not trying to fit within a party platform,” said Walz.
“Because of our unique non-partisan Legislature, Nebraska can and should lead the country in a return to civility and cooperation across political differences. We don’t always agree, but we are all on the same team,” said DeBoer.
“In my experience, one of the most important things we can do to build bridges and work together in the Legislature is to listen. Really listen to each other. Because first and foremost, people want to know their voice is being heard,” said Dorn.
Legislators from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan were chosen to participate through a competitive, nonpartisan selection process.
BILLD was founded in 1995 to help new legislators meet the demands of federal devolution and, in many states, term limits. These two emerging forces have highlighted the shortage of training available for legislators, a void that BILLD aims to fill.
DeBoer, Dorn, and Walz believe their training at BILLD will foster more cooperation in the Legislature to better serve Nebraskans.