About Us

The Council of State Governments champions excellence in state governments and for more than 90 years has convened state officials to consider how best to prepare for what’s next. If the states are laboratories of democracy, then CSG is the incubator for many of the ideas that move our states and nation forward.

As a regional office of The Council of State Governments located in New York City, our purpose is to facilitate the exchange of ideas among state policymakers, business leaders, and the academic community throughout our 18 member jurisdictions.

We foster discussions and collaboration among state officials to address the policy priorities unique to the Northeast, conduct leadership training programs, and advocate on the federal level for programs and policies beneficial to the region.

marble capitol building with dome behind trees

State Capitol Grounds, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Mission

The Council of State Governments, the multi-branch organization of the states, U.S. territories, and commonwealths prepares states for tomorrow, today, by working with state leaders across the nation and through its regions to put the best ideas and solutions into practice.

To this end, CSG:

  • Interprets changing national and international conditions to prepare states for the future;
  • Advocates multi-state problem-solving and partnerships;
  • Builds leadership skills to improve decision-making; and
  • Promotes the sovereignty of the states and their role in the American federal system

What Members Are Saying

Hear our members discuss the many ways in which CSG East has enriched their work.
people waiting in hallway with maroon carpet on checkered floor

Vermont State House

CSG East Leadership


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Bill Ferguson
President, Maryland Senate; CSG East 2024 Co-Chair
Bill Ferguson is the President of the Maryland Senate, which he has led since 2020. He is the second youngest Senate president in Maryland history and has represented South Baltimore in the Senate since 2011. Ferguson grew up in Montgomery County
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and graduated from Davidson College with a bachelor’s in economics before joining Teach for America teaching in Baltimore schools from 2005 to 2007, which inspired him to run for office. In 2013, Senator Ferguson sponsored the 21st Century Schools Act to invest $1 billion in school construction for Baltimore City Public Schools. ​Since 2020, Ferguson has led the Senate in passing the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, historic police reform legislation, an unprecedented investment in Maryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and over $1 billion in state economic stimulus to support vulnerable Marylanders through the COVID-19 crisis. Ferguson is married to follow Teach for America alum, Lea Ferguson. They live in Patterson Park with their son, Caleb, and daughter, Cora.
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Adrienne Jones
Speaker, Maryland House of Delegates; CSG East 2024 Co-Chair
Speaker Adrienne A. Jones was unanimously elected by the full House of Delegates to serve as the first African-American and the first woman Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates in state history on May 1, 2019. Prior to being Speaker,
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Jones also held the distinction of being the first African American woman to serve as Speaker Pro Tem in the Maryland House of Delegates, serving in that capacity under Speaker Mike Busch for 16 years. Speaker Jones served on the House Appropriations Committee, and was Chair of the Capital Budget and Education, and Economic Development Subcommittees. She has been a delegate since 1997. Speaker Jones has long been known by her colleagues for her steadfast leadership and no-nonsense approach to legislating. She has focused on education policy and funding issues, most notably school construction, during her tenure in the legislature. She has also made significant advances in ensuring diversity and fair treatment of state employees. Speaker Jones was born in Cowdensville, Maryland, a historic African-American community located near Arbutus in Southwest Baltimore County. She attended Baltimore County Public Schools, graduating from Lansdowne High School and is a proud alumna of the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology. She attended The National Security Seminar, U.S. Army War College in 2007. In 2008, she received an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland. She is the mother of two adult sons and proud grandmother of two wonderful grandchildren, Jalen and Janelle Jones.
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man in blue suit and blue tie
Ted Arnott
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario; CSG East 2023 Co-chair
Ted Arnott is the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and the longest-serving Member of Provincial Parliament. First elected to the Ontario Legislature at age 27 in 1990 as the MPP for Wellington, Ted has since been re-elected seven times.
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Once the youngest MPP in the Ontario Progressive Conservative (PC) Caucus, he is now the longest serving member in the Ontario Legislature. For many years, Ted has served as a presiding officer (assistant speaker). While in opposition, he was the PC critic to several ministers and while in government, served as parliamentary assistant to the minister of education, the deputy premier, the minister of the environment, and minister of economic development and trade. Many of his private member’s bills and resolutions have been passed by the House or adopted as government policy. Ted became Ontario’s 42nd speaker on July 11, 2018. As well as presiding over the Legislature, Speaker Arnott chairs the Board of Internal Economy, the committee responsible for all financial and administrative matters relating to the Legislative Assembly. The Speaker also has a diplomatic role, welcoming visiting dignitaries to the Legislative Building and representing Ontario’s parliament both in Canada and abroad. Speaker Arnott served as the 2021 chair of CSG East and presided over the 2021 annual meeting, which was held virtually due to Covid-19. He is also the co-chair of the 2023 Annual Meeting, along with MPP Jamie West. Ted lives in Fergus with his wife, Lisa, who teaches French immersion at James McQueen Public School. They have three adult sons.
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Jamie West, MPP
CSG East 2023 Co-chair
First elected in 2018, MPP Jamie West is a New Democrat and a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for the Riding of Sudbury. He’s also the Official Opposition critic for Labour, Training, and Skills Development. Jamie is proud of his blue-collar, working-class
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roots. He is a fierce advocate for human rights and is an eternal optimist who believes in fairness and helping others. Jamie faced poverty growing up, and he knows the importance of government and community services in ensuring that everyone has an opportunity for success. Jamie is a proud graduate of both Cambrian College and Laurentian University. His background includes working in the fields of mental health, construction, mining, and workplace safety.
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Virgin Islands legislature building next to the bay

Staff


David N. Biette
Director
David became director of The Council of State Governments Eastern Regional Conference on January 1, 2021, having served as deputy director since May 2017. He was founding director of both the Canada Institute and the Polar Initiative at the Woodrow
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Wilson International Center for Scholars. He has served as executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States, and as a political-economic officer at the Consulate General of Canada in New York City, where he was responsible for relations with the states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut on a variety of issues including political, energy, and environment affairs. He is the author of numerous chapters, policy briefs, and op-eds, and has appeared regularly in U.S., Canadian, and international media. Biette grew up in Massachusetts. He has an M.A. in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., and a B.A. from Bowdoin College in Maine.
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A.R. Braver
Program Manager
A.R. Braver manages the CSG East Annual Meeting and other policy and task force meetings. A.R. staffs the Annual Meeting Committee and works on fundraising for and photography of events. Before joining CSG, A.R. was a medical communications consultant organizing
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the content, faculty, logistics, and securing accreditation for continuing medical education programs in the United States, Europe, and South America, primarily in the areas of chronic kidney disease, atherosclerosis, lysosomal storage disorders, HIV, transplantation, and diabetes.
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Chris Kelleher
Policy Analyst
Chris Kelleher is a policy analyst focusing on energy and environmental policy as well as fiscal policy at CSG East. With experts and CSG members, Chris works to advance cooperation among Eastern states as they transition to a more secure
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and sustainable energy future. Prior to joining CSG East, Chris worked as an economic development policy expert for a non-profit that sought to establish western Pennsylvania as a hydrogen hub. Before that, he served the Ohio General Assembly as a research analyst through two budget cycles, during which time he staffed the Ohio House Committees on Economic and Workforce Development and Ways and Means. Chris holds a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, an M.A. from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a B.A. in political science from Miami University of Ohio.
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Dylan McDowell
Communications and Professional Development Programs Manager
Dylan McDowell manages communications for the Eastern Region and contributes to the CSG East website, newsletter, social media, and member engagement efforts. He joined in 2021 after serving as the deputy communications director for the Delaware State Senate's majority caucus.
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While still on Senate staff, he was selected to join the 2019 Eastern Leadership Academy class, was elected class president, and represented ELA on the CSG East Executive Committee. Dylan was born and raised in Delaware and currently resides in Wilmington, Delaware. He has a B.A. in international relations from American University in Washington, D.C.
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Liz Ramos Mejia
Meetings and Operations Coordinator
Elizabeth “Liz” Mejia is the meetings and operations coordinator for CSG East, where she supports the planning, coordination, and execution of the organization’s meetings, programs, and special events. Previously, Liz worked in healthcare for more than 18 years as a
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project associate. Liz graduated from Monroe College with a B.S. in public health. She was born and raised in Rochester, New York, and moved to New York City in 2003. She lives in Bayside, Queens, and is a mother of five children. In her free time, she enjoys meeting new people, volunteering, and giving back to her community.
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Joseph Shiovitz
Policy Analyst
Joseph Shiovitz is a policy analyst at CSG East with a focus on housing policy and intersecting issues. He works with state officials and other experts to find regional solutions to housing problems. Previously, Joseph has provided research and analysis
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for human rights organizations and served as a research assistant for the Research Foundation of the City University of New York and John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He holds an MPA in public policy analysis and a B.A. in philosophy, and has lived in Brooklyn since 2015.
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Uldis Vanags
Director, Northeast High-Level Radioactive Waste Transportation Project
Uldis Vanags is the project director for the Northeast High-Level Radioactive Waste Transportation Task Force, a position he has held at CSG East since 2013. He has a B.A. in physics from the University of Maine and a M.S. in
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radiological sciences and protection from the University of Lowell. He served as the state nuclear safety advisor for the State of Maine, overseeing the Maine Yankee Atomic Power Station, and as the state nuclear engineer for the State of Vermont, overseeing the Vermont Yankee Atomic Power Station.
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Francis (Fran) James Boyd, Jr.
Policy Consultant and Washington Advisor
Fran Boyd joined Hance Scarborough LLP from the merger with Meyers & Associates LLC, where he served as senior vice president. Fran has spent more than 30 years in Washington, D.C., with experience in both the executive branch of government
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and the private sector. He has represented a variety of clients that include national agriculture trade associations, agribusiness companies, cooperatives, state governments, and land-grant universities. Fran served as director of congressional and public affairs for the Farm Credit Administration, an independent federal financial agency. Prior to that, he served as the deputy director of congressional affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the Reagan administration. In that role, he served as the primary liaison between USDA, Capitol Hill, and the White House. Fran brings a wide array of experience in both legislative and regulatory areas primarily in agricultural and natural resources policy, food safety, trade, immigration policy, water irrigation policy, and tax/financial services. Fran earned his master of science degree in agricultural economics and agribusiness from Arizona State University, where he also received his undergraduate degree. Fran completed the Senior Managers in Government Program from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He resides with his family in Alexandria, Virginia, and works out of the firm’s Washington, D.C., office where he provides his expertise to an array of clients.
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Charles D. Ellison
Policy consultant, Council on Communities of Color
Charles D. Ellison, CPM is the policy consultant for the CSG East Council on Communities of Color. He brings nearly two decades of applied expertise in the area of politics, public policy, messaging, crisis management, and emerging/digital media strategy. He
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is also a 2023 Emerson Collective Fellow and Managing Editor and executive producer of ecoWURD, an environmental and climate justice focused initiative on WURD in Philadelphia. Ellison resides in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area with his family.
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Shirley Girouard
Policy Consultant, Health
Shirley Girouard provides expert guidance to CSG East members on health policy and staffs the CSG East Health Committee. She is a co-director of a geriatric workforce enhancement program and a nursing professor at the at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences
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University. Girouard’s professional career has included clinical practice in a variety of settings including as an advanced practice nurse. She has held positions in philanthropy, public service (elected and appointed), management and administration of professional organizations, healthcare, education, and has served on national, state, and local committees. Her research has focused on the nursing workforce, evaluation, public policy, and nursing education through publications, grant writing, service on several editorial boards, and professional speaking. She holds a Ph.D. in health and social policy from the Heller School at Brandeis University, a M.S. in nursing from Yale University, a M.A. in medical sociology from the University of Connecticut, a B.A. with a major in sociology from Eastern Connecticut State University, and a diploma in nursing from Hartford Hospital School of Nursing. Girouard is committed to social justice and equity issues in health and healthcare. She lives in Branford, Connecticut. 
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Bob Haefner
Policy Consultant, Agriculture and Rural Affairs
Bob is one of two CSG East advisors on regional agriculture and rural affairs. He is the immediate past legislative director for the New Hampshire State Grange and currently serves as a county director for the Farm Bureau. Following his
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service in the Marine Corps, he advised multiple Fortune 500 companies on people, process, and program management for 36 years. Shortly after retiring from the private sector, Bob served in the New Hampshire House of Representatives for 10 years, where he was appointed to the Committee on Environment and Agriculture, a committee he would later chair for four years. During his time in the legislature, he also chaired the Dairy Task Force, served on the Cooperative Extension Centennial Committee, and was a legislative representative on the New Hampshire Current Use Board. Bob has an M.S. in management from Lesley University and a B.S. in business administration from Hawthorne College. He is also a graduate of CSG East’s Eastern Leadership Academy. He lives in Hudson, New Hampshire with his wife Lynn.
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Don Hannon
Policy Consultant, Transportation
Don Hannon provides transportation policy analysis for CSG East and staffs the CSG East Transportation Committee along with Steve Hewitt. He served in the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) for more than 25 years, where he worked in
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program auditing and budgeting, led NYSDOT’s corporate training organization, and served as executive assistant to the state commissioner of transportation. He then became director of integrated modal services where he was responsible for the state’s passenger and freight rail, aviation, public transportation, bicycle/pedestrian, and ports programs. Since leaving public service, Don has worked to help cultivate ideas and relationships to advance improved transportation infrastructure across the nation and between Canada and the United States. His clients include private investors, transportation advocacy organizations, and elected state and federal officials, and he is often called upon to present expert witness testimony on transportation matters before state legislative committees. Don attained his B.S. in public policy from The Pennsylvanina State University and holds a M.A. in state and local government administration from the University of Illinois.  He resides in Schenectady, New York, with his wife and two children.
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Andrew Johnson
Policy Analyst
Andrew Johnson is a policy analyst at The Council of State Governments. He provides technical assistance and carries out member outreach and engagement for CSG and CSG East Education and Workforce Development programming. Andrew also contributes research and support for Kentucky’s
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Retaining Employment and Talent After Injury/Illness Network (RETAIN). He is particularly interested in the policy areas of K-12 school governance, career pipelines, literacy, and civic education. Prior to CSG, Andrew taught middle school social studies and reading and writing. He holds an M.Ed. and dual B.A. degrees in political science and history from the University of Kentucky.
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Tara Sad
Policy Consultant, Agriculture and Rural Affairs
Tara Sad is one of two CSG East advisors on regional agriculture and rural affairs. Tara served for 10 years in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, four of those as chair of the Environment and Agriculture Committee and four
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as the ranking member. While in the House, she also served on the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules and the Dairy Task Force, in addition to chairing the state’s Rural Affairs Commission and the Milk Producers Emergency Relief Fund Board. She is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati with a degree in business administration. She had careers in film, television, and the legal profession in Los Angeles and New York City before moving to New Hampshire more than 30 years ago. She lives in Walpole with her husband Eric, rescue dog Ruthie, cats Natalie and Zane Grey, Incredible Ace the horse, and Wilson the Mammoth Donkey. 
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Not sure who to contact? Email us at
info-east@csg.org.

decorative plaster cornice with yellow striped wall and column

Connecticut State House

National Officers


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Gov. John Carney
2023 CSG National President; Governor of Delaware
Governor John Carney was elected National President of CSG at the 2022 annual meeting. His one-year term as CSG National President will began on January 1, 2023. Carney took office as Delaware’s 74th Governor in January 2017 and began his second
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term in January 2021. From 2011 to 2017, he represented Delaware in the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to his election to Congress, he served two terms as Delaware’s Lieutenant Governor.
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David Adkins
Executive Director and CEO
David Adkins leads The Council of State Governments as its executive director and CEO. Prior to joining CSG, Adkins served as vice chancellor for external affairs at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Adkins, a graduate of the University of Kansas
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School of Law, was a Kansas state senator from 2001 to 2005 and served in the Kansas House of Representatives from 1993 to 2001. He had also served as the founding executive director of the Community Foundation of Johnson County, an affiliate of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. While in the legislature, Adkins was an active CSG member serving on the executive committee of the national organization and as chair of the 11-state Midwestern Legislative Conference of CSG. He also is an alumnus of CSG’s Toll Fellows Leadership program, Class of 1993. His gubernatorial appointments in Kansas include chair of the Kansas Advisory Group on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Higher Education. He received the Kansas Bar Association’s Outstanding Young Lawyer Award in 1996.
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headshot of Rep. Howard (woman with white hair and black suit)
Julia Howard
CSG 2023 National Chair; Representative, North Carolina
Julia Howard is serving her 14th two-year term in the North Carolina House of Representatives. Representative Howard serves as senior chair of the House Finance Committee and vice chair of the House Committee on Banking; she was a long-serving chair
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of the House Ethics Committee. She is well known for her work with welfare reform and the long-awaited passage of Jessica’s Law, legislation providing children with critical new protections against sex offenders; she continues to work on child protection laws while being a constant “watchdog” for small business. Representative Howard authored and successfully led to passage legislation restructuring North Carolina’s unemployment system for both employees and employers. During her extended service in the legislature, Representative Howard has focused on making North Carolina a better place for families to live, work and play. She has two children and six grandchildren and is dedicated to preserving the quality of life and freedoms for families. Julia raised her family in Davie County, where she owns and operates Howard Realty; she is a licensed real estate broker and appraiser.
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headshot of Connecticut Rep. Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
CSG 2023 National Chair-elect; Representative, Connecticut
State Representative Kevin Ryan serves the 139th House District in Connecticut. He is a Deputy Speaker in the House. In 2021, after many years of active participation in CSG East, Kevin was elected by CSG East Executive Committee members to serve
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as 2022 CSG national vice chair. Representative Ryan has been a member of the House Appropriation Committee since 1993, has served as a vice–chair as well as having served on many subcommittees; co-chairing the Health and Hospitals subcommittee, Regulation and Protection subcommittee, and Transportation subcommittee. Kevin is a resident of the Oakdale section of Montville, Connecticut and served on the Montville Board of Education for six years as its Chairman and one year as its Secretary before being elected to the House of Representatives.
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Elgie Sims
CSG 2023 National Vice Chair; Senator, Illinois
Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. serves as State Senator for the 17th Illinois Senate District, which includes portions of the South Side of Chicago, Chicago’s South Suburbs, and Will and Kankakee counties. Prior to joining the Illinois Senate, he served
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nearly four terms as State Representative of Illinois’ 34th House District.
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Sam Hunt
CSG 2022 National Chair; Senator, Washington
Sam Hunt was elected to represent the 22nd District of the Washington Senate in 2016 after serving 16 years in the state’s House of Representatives. He is the chair of the State Government, Tribal Relations and Elections Committee and is also
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a member of the Ways and Means and Early Learning and K-12 Education committees. In addition, he chairs the Legislative Oral History Advisory Committee and serves on the Capitol Campus Design Advisory Committee and the Washington-Hyogo Friendship Council. A former member of the Washington State Historical Society Board of Trustees, Senator Hunt volunteers with the National Institute for Civil Discourse, working to promote and improve civility among members of state legislatures. In 2017, he chaired The Council of State Governments West. In 2018, he was elected national vice chair of CSG before becoming national chair in 2022. Senator Hunt is a graduate of Washington State University and was a schoolteacher before beginning his public service work. He lives in Olympia with his family.
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stained glass medallions surrounded by lights

Massachusetts State House

Committees

CSG East provides staff support for regional committees, task forces, and boards made up of state elected and appointed officials, as well as legislative and agency staff, from our member jurisdictions.

These committees and boards are the principal vehicle for forging consensus on regional policies and priorities, and advocating for federal policies and programs beneficial to the region.

curved stairway in old building

Photography at The Old State House for The Bostonian Society.

History

Colorado state Senator Henry Wolcott Toll created the American Legislators Association — the forerunner to The Council of State Governments — in 1925 to provide legislators with information and opportunities to connect. Toll believed interstate cooperation was imperative for states to maintain control over inherent state issues. Continuing his commitment to this belief, Senator Toll and a dozen colleagues formally established CSG in 1933 as a national organization serving all three branches of state government.

The council set up operations in Chicago and operated there until 1967, when CSG headquarters were relocated to Lexington, Kentucky.

CSG’s Eastern Regional office was established in 1937, and the organization opened an office in Washington, D.C., in 1938. The Midwestern office was established in 1945, and the Southern Legislative Conference and CSG West were both established in 1947. In 2006, the CSG Justice Center was formed, and in 2018, the organization established its Center of Innovation at the National Headquarters.

black and white marble tiles on floor

Miller Senate Office Building, Annapolis, Maryland

CSG East Values

 

Pursue the priorities of its member states;

Be nonpartisan and inclusive;

Engage leaders from all three branches of state governments;

Have a regional focus, a national presence and a global reach;

Be a respected and trusted source for best practices and policy expertise;

Convene leader-to-leader interactions and foster leadership development;

Facilitate multi-state solutions;

Zealously advocate for the states in our federal system of government;

Adhere to the highest ethical standards;

Respect diversity and act with civility;

Partner and collaborate with others.

New York Skyline

Contact Us

22 Cortlandt Street, 22nd Floor
New York, NY 10007
Phone: 212-482-2320
Email: info-east@csg.org