About Us

The Council of State Governments champions excellence in state governments and for more than 85 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
black and white marble tiles on floor

Miller Senate Office Building, Annapolis, Maryland

Our 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.

people waiting in hallway with maroon carpet on checkered floor

Vermont State House

CSG East Leadership

Co-Chairs

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Sharon Carson
Senator, New Hampshire
Sharon Carson has been in the New Hampshire State Senate since 2008. Before becoming senator, she served as a state representative from Londonderry from 2000 until 2008. She also served in the U.S. Army and the Army Reserve and retired
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in 1995 after 17 years of service. Sharon has an A.S. degree from Mount Wachussett Community College, as well as a B.A, M.A., and A.B.D from the University of New Hampshire. Sharon is an adjunct professor at Nashua Community College. She has also taught at the University of New Hampshire and at the University of New Hampshire at Manchester as an adjunct professor after completing her postgraduate studies. She also served on the Rockingham County delegation’s executive committee for two terms and was the chair of the Registry of Deeds. Sharon and her husband, Greg, have been married for 37 years and have two daughters, Alicia and Deirdre. They have lived in Londonderry and the State of New Hampshire since 1989. Greg is a New Hampshire native. Senator Carson has a deep passion for the state that she serves. She loves New Hampshire and its rich history; she shares her knowledge of the early settlers and the stories of Nutfield and Portsmouth, and has a deep respect for the people she serves.
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Lucy McVitty Weber
Speaker Pro Tempore, New Hampshire
Lucy Weber serves as speaker pro tempore of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Representative Weber also chairs the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee. She has represented the Cheshire 1st District since 2006. Prior to serving in the legislature,
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Weber worked as a teacher, Vermont attorney, and Walpole innkeeper. She has been a member of the Cheshire County Delegation Executive Committee and the Walpole Zoning Board of Adjustment. Weber earned her B.A. from Tufts University, and a master’s degree in environmental law and juris doctor degree from Vermont Law School.
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Immediate Past Co-Chairs

Headshot of Senator Joe Scarnati, Pennsylvania
Joe Scarnati
Senate President Pro Tempore, Pennsylvania
Joe Scarnati is currently serving his fifth term in the Pennsylvania Senate. He was born and raised in Brockway, Pennsylvania, and represents the 25th Senatorial District. After graduating from Penn State University at DuBois, Joe became a third-generation business owner in
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the Brockway area. He served on the Brockway Borough Council, the Jefferson County Development Council. and is a member of the St. Tobias Roman Catholic Church in Brockway. In his 19 years as a state senator, Joe has served as a rank and file member of the Senate, as a member of Senate leadership, and currently as Senate President Pro Tempore. In November of 2008, with the passing of Catherine Baker Knoll, Joe became Pennsylvania’s 31st lieutenant governor. He served the remainder of Lieutenant Governor Knoll’s term, which ended January 18, 2011. Since being elected to office, Joe has been a leader in reforming the way business is conducted in Harrisburg, and he remains committed to making the institution more open and accessible to the citizens of the Commonwealth.
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Ryan Mackenzie
Representative, Pennsylvania
Ryan Mackenzie is serving his fifth term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives representing the 134th Legislative District. For the 2019-20 legislative session, Ryan was selected to serve as a deputy majority whip. Ryan serves as vice chair of the Labor and
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Industry Committee, and as chair of the Subcommittee on Financial Services and Banking under the Commerce Committee. Prior to being elected to office, Ryan served as the director of policy at the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. Ryan is a ninth-generation resident of Pennsylvania. He earned his B.A. in finance and international business from New York University and earned his master’s in business administration from Harvard Business School. Ryan is also a graduate of the CSG/ERC Eastern Leadership Academy and the CSG Henry Toll Fellowship Program.
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red brick and white marble designs on plaza

Outside Rhode Island State House

Staff

Staff

Wendell Hannaford
Director
Wendell has been the director of CSG's Eastern Regional Conference since 2009. He previously served as the deputy director and as a senior policy analyst for international trade and economic development. In 1998 while serving as deputy director, he created
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the Eastern Trade Council, an affiliate organization of CSG East, to facilitate collaborative approaches to export promotion among state trade officials in the Northeast. He helped recruit the six Eastern Canadian provinces to become international associate members of CSG East and staffed the CSG East Eastern Canadian Provinces Committee. He also created the CSG East Tax and Budget Chairs’ Roundtable. Prior to joining CSG, Hannaford worked for the New York State Senate Select Committee on Interstate Cooperation as a research analyst. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Drew University and an international trade specialist certificate from Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management.
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David Biette
Deputy Director
David joined The Council of State Governments Eastern Regional Conference as deputy director in May 2017. He was founding director of both the Canada Institute and the Polar Initiative at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a think tank
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that serves as the United States’ memorial to the 28th president. 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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Jack Aitken
Research Associate
Jack has been a research associate with CSG East since 2015. Throughout college he worked on several New York City political campaigns and served as a communications assistant in the New York City Council. In 2014 he interned with the
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CSG Washington, D.C., office, where he worked with the Overseas Voting Initiative as well as the CSG Justice Center.
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A.R. Braver
Program Manager
A.R. Braver coordinates CSG East’s annual meeting, as well as policy and task force meetings; staffs the Annual Meeting Committee; and works on fundraising for and photography of events. Previously she coordinated special events in Lincoln Center, and was an
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account supervisor organizing 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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Véronique M. Cavaillier
Director, Eastern Trade Council and Director, Leadership Training Programs
Véronique is responsible for developing and implementing regionally focused export promotion endeavors, including trade missions and trade shows, and has organized executive symposia and conferences on trade issues. She serves as liaison to senior public and private sector officials to
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enlist their support for CSG East’s international export promotion programs. In addition, she speaks at various forums to promote the visibility of trade capacity in the Northeast. Véronique has worked in commercial banking, federal and state government, and has an expertise in export credit financing, trade finance, and international trade policy. She holds an M.B.A. in international business from Adelphi University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations and languages from Colgate University; she speaks French fluently and has a working knowledge of Russian.
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Rona Cohen
Program Manager, Energy and Environment Program and Editor, Print and Multimedia Projects
Rona has provided research and analysis on energy and environmental policy for more than a decade at The Council of State Governments Eastern Regional Conference, where she leads a committee of approximately 60 state officials from the Northeast, organizes regional
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summits on state climate and energy policy, edits a weekly newsletter, and produces multimedia content, including a recent mini-documentary on efforts among officials in Guilford, Connecticut, to create a Community Coastal Resilience Plan. Rona has testified before legislative committees in six states. Rona’s editorial responsibilities include writing, editing, and managing production of CSG East’s annual report, Perspectives. Earlier in her career, Rona spent nearly five years working as a newspaper and wire-service reporter in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and New York City, where she reported for Knight Ridder, Time Magazine, The Miami Herald, and The Buenos Aires Herald, among other publications. Rona holds an M.A. in international economic policy from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and a B.A. in history from Wesleyan University.
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Debbie-Ann Paige
Senior Policy Analyst, Military and Veterans Affairs, Council on Communities of Color, Territorial Relations (Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands)
Debbie-Ann Paige has served in a variety of roles with The Council of State Governments Eastern Regional Conference since 2005. In her most recent role, Debbie-Ann provides policy research and analysis to state policymakers on matters of military and veterans
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affairs and territorial relations with Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Debbie-Ann is also responsible for overseeing the CSG East Council on Communities of Color (CCC). Before joining CSG East Debbie served as a trained volunteer appointed by two commanding officers as an Ombudsman at Naval Hospital Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, and Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Virginia, to serve as an information liaison between command leadership and command families. Debbie-Ann is also an adjunct lecturer at the College of Staten Island. She holds a B.S. in business studies from Southern New Hampshire University and a B.A. and M.A. in history from the College of Staten Island, CUNY.
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Uldis Vanags
Director, Northeast High-Level Radioactive Waste Transportation Project
Uldis Vanags has a B.A. in physics from the University of Maine and a M.S. in radiological sciences and protection from the University of Lowell. He served as the state nuclear safety advisor for the State of Maine, overseeing the
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Maine Yankee Atomic Power Station, and as the state nuclear engineer for the State of Vermont, overseeing the Vermont Yankee Atomic Power Station. Since 2013 he has been working with CSG East as the project director for the Northeast High-Level Radioactive Waste Transportation Task Force.
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Consultants

Francis (Fran) James Boyd, Jr.
Policy Consultant and Washington Advisor
Fran has worked in government affairs, both in the public and private sectors, for more than 35 years. He currently serves as a principal and senior vice president for Meyers & Associates, a D.C.-based government relations consulting firm, where he
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has represented national associations, financial institutions, businesses, municipalities, state legislators, and universities. Fran has successfully worked with diverse clients and numerous federal agencies to help shape national public policy in agriculture/rural development, trade, environmental/natural resources, banking/finance, tax policy, and food safety regulation. He has also been successful in the creation and legislative accomplishments of several multi-industry coalitions. Fran became deputy director of congressional affairs for the United States Department of Agriculture in 1981. Following his time at USDA, he served as director of congressional and public affairs for the Farm Credit Administration. Fran received his graduate degree in agricultural economics/agribusiness and undergraduate degree from Arizona State University. He has also completed the senior managers in government program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
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Shirley Girouard
Health Policy
Shirley Girouard is professor and associate dean for research and community partnerships at the College of Nursing at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University. She holds a Ph.D. in health and social policy from the Heller School at Brandeis University, a
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master of science in nursing from Yale University, a master of arts in medical sociology from the University of Connecticut, a bachelor of arts with a major in sociology from Eastern Connecticut State University, and a diploma in nursing from Hartford Hospital School of Nursing. 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 in professional organizations, healthcare and education, and serving on national, state, and local committees. Her research has focused on the nursing workforce, evaluation, public policy, and nursing education through publications, grantsmanship, service on several editorial boards, and professional speaking. Girouard is committed to social justice and equity issues in health and healthcare.
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Bob Haefner
Agriculture and Rural Affairs
Bob has a master’s degree in management from Lesley University and a B.S. in business administration from Hawthorne College, magna cum laude. He served his military obligation in the United States Marine Corps Reserve and spent 36 years with Fortune
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500 companies in people, process, and program management. After retiring from HP, Bob ran for the New Hampshire House of Representatives and spent 10 years on the Committee on Environment and Agriculture, four of those as ranking member and four as chair. Bob is a fellow of the Eastern Leadership Academy. During his time in the legislature Bob chaired the Dairy, the Department of Agriculture, and the Cooperative Extension Centennial committees as well as the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab funding study. Bob is a county director of the New Hampshire Farm Bureau and a member of the Farm Bureau government affairs, policy, and dairy committees. He has been active in State Agriculture and Rural Leaders (SARL).
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Don Hannon
Transportation Policy
Don served in the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) for more than 25 years. He worked in program auditing and budgeting, led NYSDOT’s corporate training organization, and served as executive assistant to the state commissioner of transportation. He
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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. Don served as the state’s representative to the U.S. Passenger Rail Next Generation Equipment Committee’s executive board and was secretary-treasurer of the States for Passenger Rail Coalition, advocating for federal support of passenger rail initiatives. Since leaving public service Don has worked to help cultivate ideas and relationships to advance improved transportation infrastructure within 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. Since leaving public service he has worked to help cultivate ideas and relationships to advance improved transportation infrastructure within the United States, and between Canada and the United States. His clients include private investors, transportation advocacy organizations, and elected state and federal officials.
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Steve Hewitt
Transportation Policy
Steve Hewitt has been a consultant to the CSG East Transportation Policy Committee since 2009. He is an independent transportation consultant with more than 24 years of experience in the field of federal, state, and local transportation policy; governmental relations;
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coalition building; and consultant management. He is the former director of the Office of External Relations for the New York State Department of Transportation. Steve’s priority areas of focus include advancing regional and national transportation policy initiatives; providing legislative analysis, advice, and counsel to elected officials; and promoting the importance of ensuring an adequately funded, safe, secure, and reliable multi-modal national transportation system. His other clients include the Next Generation Corridor Equipment Pool Committee (NGEC) which develops and maintains a national set of standardized specifications for next generation passenger rail equipment; he also serves as program manager for the NGEC. Additionally, Steve serves as managing consultant to the States for Passenger Rail Coalition, Inc. (SPRC), the nation’s leading passenger rail advocacy group.
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Max Morley
Education Policy
As a policy analyst at The Council of State Governments in Lexington, Kentucky, Max’s scope of work centers around occupational licensure and education issues among states. Morley has worked in education since 2012, including seven years in the classroom. He
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served on the boards of directors of both the Kentucky Education Association and the Jefferson County Teachers Association, representing one of the largest urban school districts in the United States. Morley has worked with districts on curriculum design, professional development, and funding. He is a Teach for America alumnus and a graduate of the University of Louisville.
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Tara Sad
Agriculture and Rural Affairs
Tara is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati with a degree in business administration. She had careers in the film, television, and legal professions in Los Angeles and New York City before moving to Walpole, New Hampshire, more than
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25 years ago. 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 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. Tara is a longtime and active member of CSG East.
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National Officers

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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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CSG 2020 National Chair

Portrait of Joan Ballweg
Joan Ballweg
Representative, Wisconsin
Joan Ballweg represents the 41st District of the Wisconsin State Legislature. She was first elected to the Assembly in 2004 and served as majority caucus chair in 2011 and 2013. Representative Ballweg is the 2020 national chair of The Council of
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State Governments and previously served as chair of the Midwestern Legislative Conference. She is a former member of the FEMA Regional Advisory Council and served on the city council of Markesan, Wisconsin, before being elected as the city’s mayor, a position that she held from 1991 to 1997. She initiated a bipartisan Wisconsin Legislative Children’s Caucus focused on informing legislative colleagues about and building support for evidence-informed investments in children and families; she is also a member of the Wisconsin Child Abuse Neglect and Prevention Board. She spearheaded the Red Tape Review, a comprehensive look at Wisconsin’s administrative rules and initiatives relating to strengthening families and early childhood education. A native of Milwaukee, Representative Ballweg has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and taught first grade for many years. She is the co-owner of a farm equipment business in Markesan.
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CSG 2020 National Chair-Elect

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Sam Hunt
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, and in 2018, he was elected national vice chair of CSG. 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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CSG 2020 National Vice Chair

headshot of Rep. Howard (woman with white hair and black suit)
Julia Howard
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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CSG 2020 Immediate Past National Chair

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Lou D’Allesandro
Senator, New Hampshire
Lou D’Allesandro has represented the 20th District in the New Hampshire Senate since 1998. He currently serves as chair of the Finance Committee and vice-chair of the Ways and Means and Capital Budget committees. He previously served three terms as
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an executive councilor and two terms as a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. In addition to his career in public service, Senator D’Allesandro enjoyed professional success in education. He holds honorary doctorate degrees from Franklin Pierce University, Daniel Webster College, and the New Hampshire Institute of Art. He also holds degrees from the University of New Hampshire, Rivier University, New England College, and the New Hampshire Institute of Art. Senator D’Allesandro serves as the CSG 2019 National Chair. He and his wife, Patricia, currently reside in Manchester.
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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.

History

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.

New York Skyline

Contact Us

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