by Stephen G. Lakis, President, SLLF

In 2015 SLLF held 9 major programs, (which explains why the year went by so fast: one program after another, each different in content, location and audience). It was another great year for us with legislative leaders from every state in the nation participating in at least one SLLF event.

Here’s a quick recap of where we stand today.

Our Board of Directors, made up of sitting legislative leaders, has never been stronger. At our December meeting we elected 13 new Directors bringing our total board membership to 38 state legislative leaders. (Click here to view our current board members.) Rep. Al Carlson, Majority Leader of the North Dakota House, continues as our Chair. Al is the best and his steady hand and sound judgment are invaluable assets to us. We elected Sen. Martin Looney, President Pro Tem of the Connecticut Senate, to the position of Vice Chair. And, to complete the Board leadership team, Robin Vos, Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly, was elected to the post of 2nd Vice Chair. Marty and Robin bring their enthusiasm and proven leadership skills to bear on SLLF at this important juncture in our history. I’m honored to be able to work with this exceptional team.

Our Advisory Council has also never been stronger or more engaged. Last year we welcomed eight new AC members bringing our current total membership to near capacity. Our AC plays a central role in this organization. Their financial support is what makes us go, but it’s their participation that makes SLLF unique, defining our character as an effective partnership between the public and private sectors.

Turning to 2016 and beyond…

This year we are going to be busy with programs dealing with Criminal Justice Reform, Lessons in Presidential Leadership taught to us by our nation’s greatest leader, George Washington, and a variety of programs designed exclusively for speakers of the house, house and senate majority leaders, and the next generation of legislative leaders.

SLLF is also preparing to launch a 3-year series of programs focusing on Technology and the Millennial Generation – two forces of nature that are already having significant effects on virtually every aspect of our daily lives.

Last fall SLLF signed a historic (and I do not use this word lightly) pact with China’s preeminent nonprofit organization: The Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, (CPAFFC or Friendship Association). Last September, a Memorandum of Understanding recognizing this new partnership was ratified by both President Xi and President Obama. SLLF will be working with the Friendship Association to convene a series of educational programs involving US state legislative leaders and top political leaders from China’s provinces.

Looking forward, we are also pursuing new partnerships with our closest allies and friends, the Canadians. At the gracious invitation of the Speaker of the British Columbia Parliament, The Honourable Linda Reid, SLLF will hold its December 2016 Board meeting and Leadership Roundtable in Victoria, British Columbia.

There’s more to tell and I will look forward to opportunities to share this information with you as we continue to build the finest legislative organization in the land!

Best to you for 2016 – Good health, friendship, peace and prosperity.