Strahorn (D-OH) and Hickman (R-OK) Lead as NICD Launches New Partnership with the State Legislative Leaders Foundation (SLLF) to Advance Civil Discourse and Bipartisanship
Washington, D.C. – The National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) is excited to announce that two distinguished, former state legislative leaders will lead Next Generation, NICD’s premiere program aimed at improving relationships in state legislatures around the country.
Former Ohio Senator and House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn will join its Next Generation Advisory Board as National Co-Chair. Leader Strahorn was the House Minority Leader in Ohio from 2014-2019. He previously served as State Senator for Ohio’s 5th district from 2009-2011 and as a Senior Political Advisor to the Ohio Democratic party from 2011-2013. Strahorn previously served citizens of the greater Dayton area as state representative from 2001 to 2008, including two years as House Minority Whip, before term limits prevented him from seeking reelection. He has also served as vice president of government affairs for the Ohio United Way, in addition to managing residential properties and selling real estate. Sen. Strahorn graduated from The Ohio State University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Aviation Management.
Joining Strahorn as National Co-Chair is former Oklahoma Speaker Jeff Hickman. Speaker Hickman is a fifth-generation farmer from northwest Oklahoma who has been involved in his family’s farming operation since childhood. He represented Oklahoma’s 58th district from 2004-2016 and was elected Speaker of the House in 2014, having previously served as Speaker Pro Tempore. He currently serves as CEO/President of the Oklahoma Grain and Feed association and on the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Hickman earned his B.A. in journalism from the University of Oklahoma in 1996.
”With the many challenges facing America and the world, effective leadership that respects the rights of all has never been more needed. This partnership will help ensure that elected officials work to respect each other, regardless of party or ideology, and who are willing to work together to address these challenges with bipartisan solutions.
NICD is also excited to announce that Dr. Beth Harwell, former Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives and Next Generation Facilitator, has accepted the position of NICD’s Next Generation Program Director, following the departure of former Idaho Senate President Pro Tempore Brent Hill at the end of last year. She will be assisted by Dr. Thomas Little of the State Legislative Leaders Foundation in the newly created position of Legislative Liaison.
Senator Hill’s departure, though a great loss to NICD, provided the opportunity to restructure Next Generation in various ways, including the creation of an Advisory Board consisting of current and former state legislators who serve as Next Generation Facilitators. Advisory board members are former Wyoming House Minority Leader Rosie Berger, former Ohio Representative Denise Driehaus, North Carolina Representative Jon Hardister, former Idaho Representative Kelley Packer and former West Virginia Senate Majority Leader John Unger. Working together, this new team will develop, lead, and promote Next Generation programs across the nation as they look ahead to a very exciting future. Harwell, Little, and Program Coordinator Mia Ayer will work closely with a newly formed Advisory Board.
NICD has also partnered with the State Legislative Leaders Foundation (SLLF) for an exciting opportunity that will open new doors for both organizations. SLLF is an ideal partner for NICD, given the organization’s fifty-year commitment to encouraging state legislative leaders to conduct the people’s business in a civil manner that respects the integrity of the legislative institution and its members. As part of the initiative, NICD will provide programming on civil discourse and bipartisanship for SLLF’s upcoming leadership programs when appropriate and SLLF will offer a cadre of NICD and SLLF training sessions to their members ranging from the historical importance of bipartisanship to the responsibilities of leadership to strategies for building winning coalitions
With the many challenges facing America and the world, effective leadership that respects the rights of all has never been more needed. This partnership will help ensure that elected officials work to respect each other, regardless of party or ideology, and who are willing to work together to address these challenges with bipartisan solutions. With these partnerships and organizational changes, NICD and Next Generation will be well positioned to help make the dream of cooperative public policy and leadership a reality.
About NICD, the National Institute for Civil Discourse
NICD works to build the nation’s capacity to engage our differences constructively. In 2011, the University of Arizona created NICD after the Tucson shooting that killed six people and wounded another thirteen, including former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. In the weeks prior to the shooting, Congresswoman Giffords was already in discussion with the University of Arizona about creating a center that would focus on improving the quality of discourse. The galvanizing power of that event brought together founding honorary co-chairs George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton and an impressive bipartisan group of other leaders to honor Congresswoman Giffords’ vision.
Next Generation is one of NICD’s most important programs that creates and strengthens bipartisan relationships through mutual, trust-based, and effective communication in state legislatures around the country.
NICD offers Americans a variety of opportunities and resources to engage differences constructively at https://nicd.arizona.edu/.