Building a State of Civility in Your Legislature

Leaving it better, for the Next Generation

“The altar of freedom raised by your fathers – the sacred fire they lighted upon it – are now delivered to you. To you belongs the great trust of their preservation, until another generation shall succeed to take your places…” ~Daniel Webster (1826)

State Legislators recognize

growing partisanship and lack of respect

are a threat to effective policy making

Brent HillFormer Director of Next Generation and former Idaho Senate President Pro Tem

We learned that civil discourse does not mean abandoning one’s principles—rather it means listening respectfully to those with whom we disagree while advocating our own beliefs and principles in a respectful manner—an approach that, when employed, has improved and strengthened our process.

Joann WardFormer Minnesota State Representative and Next Generation Facilitator

It’s really about learning and trusting, being present for each other in a way that is counterintuitive for the way that our politics have developed.

Frank LaRoseOhio State Senator

Civility is more than just having good manners; without it, our system of government cannot function effectively. As citizens, it is our responsibility to expect better from our leaders and from each other. We all benefit when improved civility becomes a mutual priority.

Jeni James ArndtColorado State Representative

(Next Generation] is what we need in our country. I feel like the public is really crying out for civil discourse.

Improving civil discourse and collaboration in state legislatures

Through our Workshops by Trained Facilitators


Next Generation offers a workshop made for state legislators by state legislators. “Building Trust through Civil Discourse” is an interactive, half-day workshop that provides state lawmakers with an opportunity to explore the benefits of improving the level of civil discourse in their state’s legislature and more effectively working across the aisle. The energizing program improves the culture so civil discourse and collaboration are at the heart of public policy development.


Next Generation Workshops are led by current and former state legislators who are trained as facilitators to help foster civility and bipartisan collaboration around the country. Each year, Next Generation trains additional legislators to join this dynamic group of leaders. Becoming a facilitator provides state legislators with a chance to effect change in their states and nationwide.

Get Involved

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National Network of State Legislators

Over 1,000 state lawmakers have participated in a “Building Trust through Civil Discourse” workshop. The National Network of State Legislators Committed to Civil Governance provides these participants with support, skill-building resources, and a community with which to share ideas and questions.The Network is led by a bipartisan team of national co-chairs and meets annually for an in-person Summit.

Partner Organizations

Contact Next Generation

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