The 6th Annual Conference of State Majority Leaders, took place from June 13-15, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois and was co-hosted by Senator James Clayborne and Representative Barbara Flynn Currie.
Session Highlights included:
The Leadership of Abraham Lincoln and Why it Matters Today
Alan Lowe, Director, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
It is agreed by scholars, amateur historians and the public alike that Abraham Lincoln ranks as one of, if not the, greatest US Presidents. Alan Lowe, the Director of the Abraham Lincoln Library reminded us of three qualities of Lincoln’s greatness that are just as significant today as they were almost eight score ago. First, Lincoln was able to multitask. While leading the nation through the greatest crisis in its history, Lincoln also helped the nation complete the transcontinental railroad, establish the land grant institutions of higher education and manage foreign policy. Second, Lincoln was a master of communications, making the most of the new (telegraph) and the old (stories, humor and personal narratives). Finally, Lincoln offered America a vision that it could hold on to through the darkest days of the Civil War that united, inspired and motivated the country so that “government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
US – Chinese Relations and State Governments Today
David Rank, Energy Policy Institute of the University of Chicago;
Former State Department Foreign Service Officer
China and the United States are, without a doubt, the two biggest kids on the economic block so it behooves both political and corporate leaders to understand the changing relationship between two. David Rank, a twenty-seven year veteran of the Foreign Service and recent Interim US Ambassador in Beijing offered his insights into that relationship and the changing nature of The Red Dragon. He suggested that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is entering into its third phase of recentralization (March, 2018 to the present), following eras of revolution (1948-1978) and decentralization (1978- March, 2018). Ushered in by the end of Presidential term limits in China, the new era is defined by the central party taking role in every major aspect of Chinese life from the economy to the politics. Further, the “new” China is marked by a focus on addressing corruption in government, responding to climate change and the nation taking its place, along with the United States, among world leaders.
Ending Sexual Harassment: Steps to Creating a Positive Workplace for all Legislators and Employees
Liz Rita, Investigations Law Group
The Honorable Toi Hutchinson, Illinois Senate
While voters have always been skeptical of their leaders, I am not sure anything has shaken faith in our government institutions like the recent spate of credible allegations of sexual harassment and abuse within and beyond our institutions of government. The #metoo movement has brought to the forefront questions and concerns that have long been just below the surface and haunted women in politics and the corporate world for decades. This session, led by two women who are pleading the fight to create an environment where “the weed of discrimination and harassment won’t grow,” offered sobering real time data on the challenges of creating such an environment as well as positive steps to do so: 1) Get your finger on the pulse (take time to find out what is going on in your office and institution); 2) Define culture and expectations above avoiding legal liability; 3) Create the necessary structures to prevent harassment and encourage reporting; and 4) Protect people from retaliation.
A Preview of The Barack Obama Presidential Obama Presidential Center
Michael Strautmanis, Chief Engagement Officer, The Obama Foundation
In discussing the development of his Presidential Center, Barrack Obama said, “I don’t want it to be one those places you have to drag school kids to for field trips.” Instead, he wanted a campus full of activity, experiences and excitement. Therefore, the Obama Presidential Center will be a cultural landmark that celebrate American and African American history while inspiring and empowering the next generation of civic leaders. Located in the heart of Chicago’s South Side the Center will serve as a vibrant hub of activity for Chicagoans with amenities including a world-class museum, a branch of the Chicago Public Library, interior community space, landscaped grounds, children’s play areas, and an athletic center with gymnasium.