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Council of State Governments ends national meeting, held in Covington; elected new leadership


Staff report

With Kentucky State Sen. Robert Stivers as its outgoing chair, the Council of State Governments held its National Conference in Covington this week.

The conference brought government leaders from around the country to the Northern Kentucky Convention Center — and hundreds of visitors to the area.

Stivers is Kentucky Senate President; he has represented Senate District 25 since 1997 and is from Manchester. The Council of State Governments is the nation’s only organization serving all three branches of state government. It fosters the exchange of insights and ideas to help state officials shape public policy.

J.D. Vance

The program featured keynote speaker J.D. Vance, best-selling author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. Vance also signed his book.

Other speakers included:

Story Musgrave, a NASA scientist-astronaut and veteran of six space flights, spent a total of 1,281 hours, 59 minutes and 22 seconds in space. He served a surgical internship at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington from 1964 to 1965 and continued there as a U.S. Air Force post-doctoral fellow (1965-1966), working in aerospace medicine and physiology, and as a National Heart Institute postdoctoral fellow (1966-1967), teaching and doing research in cardiovascular and exercise physiology. From 1967 to 1989, he continued clinical and scientific training as a part-time surgeon at the Denver General Hospital and as a part-time professor of physiology and biophysics at the University of Kentucky Medical Center.

Story Musgrave

Dr. Musgrave was selected as a scientist-astronaut by NASA in August 1967. He completed astronaut academic training and then worked on the design and development of the Skylab Program. He was the backup science-pilot for the first Skylab mission and was a CAPCOM for the second and third Skylab missions.

He left NASA in August 1997 to pursue private interests.

Kelly Craft, a Kentucky native and United States ambassador to Canada, leads the U.S. Mission to Canada, which comprises the embassy in Ottawa and seven consulates located across Canada. Craft serves in several leadership roles with the Salvation Army of Lexington and the Center for Rural Development, a non-profit dedicated to economic development in rural Kentucky. She has served on the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees and co-founded the Morehead State University Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics, which nurtures the academic talents of young Kentuckians. In the private sector, Craft founded a successful marketing and business advisory firm providing leadership advice to businesses in her community and across the country.

Kelly Craft

David Macnaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the United States. As a seasoned entrepreneur and political strategist, MacNaughton brings a unique set of skills and experiences to his role as ambassador. In the 1980s, MacNaughton transformed the public affairs industry by building an organization that comprised government relations, public opinion research and public relations. After selling his business in 1989, he became president of Canada’s largest government and public relations firm and subsequently North American president of the world’s largest public relations firm. His public sector experience includes work at both the federal and provincial levels, including as advisor to the minister at the Departments of Transport, Industry, and Foreign Affairs.

Gov. Matt Bevin spoke about the value of sharing ideas across states and political ideologies. “Iron sharpens iron,” Bevin told the group in the opening luncheon. “And there’s a lot of iron in this room.”

On Saturday, volunteers helped package 39,000 meals for the state’s hungry as part of the organization’s ‘Fight Hunger’ campaign. Statistics show that 1 in 6 people in Kentucky struggle with hunger.

The organization also named new leadership. In 2019, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló will serve as the national president and New Hampshire state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro will serve as the national chair.

Gov. Bevin

Joining Rosselló and D’Allesandro on the leadership team are Wisconsin state Rep. Joan Ballweg, the chair-elect, and Washington state Sen. Sam Hunt, the vice chair.

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers will serve on the team as the immediate past national chair.

D’Allesandro has served in the New Hampshire State Senate for nearly two decades, representing District 20. He serves as chair of the Capital Budget Committee and is a member of the Finance and Ways and Means committees. D’Allesandro is a former state House representative, and he served on the Executive Council from 1974–1980. D’Allesandro is retired from the U.S. Marine Corps.

D’Allesandro said he’s excited about the opportunity to interact with legislators from around the country.

“To have been selected national chair by my colleagues is a tremendous honor, and I look forward to serving and raising awareness about the significant work being done by The Council of State Governments,” he said.

Rosselló has served as governor of Puerto Rico since January 2017. He was formerly a researcher at Duke University, and he founded the political advocacy group Boricua ¡Ahora Es! Rosselló earned a bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in biomedical engineering and economics and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan.

Rosselló’s father, Pedro Rosselló, also served as governor of Puerto Rico and as CSG national president.


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One Comment

  1. Roger Auge II says:

    Good event with good speakers, but little or no public attention. Econ Impact questionable. However, NKU has country music concert Saturday night, draws about 6.5 thousand from as far away as Ontario, and has whopping impact. Public involvement is key.

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