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Kansas Senator Elaine Bowers Selected as CSG Toll Fellow

Elaine BowersKansas state Senator Elaine Bowers is one of 48 state policymakers from across the country selected as a Council of State Governments' Henry Toll Fellow for the Class of 2014.

The Class of 2014 Toll Fellows represents 35 states and Puerto Rico, with 35 serving in the legislative branch, four serving in the judiciary and nine hailing from the executive. A nine-member committee of state leaders, many who are Toll Fellows themselves, reviewed a record number of applications to select the class.

"The Henry Toll Fellowship has a distinguished history of cultivating some of the nation's top leaders and forging lasting relationships among a special few who serve without fear or favor," said Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, the 2014 CSG national chair and a 2002 CSG Toll Fellow. "This year's class is drawn from a very deep talent pool, and each of those selected will contribute significantly."

The Toll Fellowship Program, named for CSG founder Henry Wolcott Toll, is one of the nation's premier leadership development programs for state government officials. Each year, the program brings 48 of the nation's top officials from all three branches of state government to Lexington, Kentucky for an intensive six-day, five-night "intellectual boot camp."

"I am excited to learn more about the other two branches and have them learn about my legislature and process and my daily routine in my position," Bowers said. "I also hope I can learn from the other legislators and best practices they have developed, which could help me in Kansas be a better legislator."

The program's agenda includes a lineup of dynamic speakers and sessions designed to stimulate personal assessment and growth, while providing priceless networking and relationship-building opportunities. While each year's program is unique, previous programs have included sessions on leadership personality assessment, media training, crisis management, appreciative inquiry, adaptive leadership and much more.

"The Toll Fellowship remains the oldest and most prestigious of all leadership development programs for elected officials," said David Adkins, CSG's executive director/CEO. "Its impact is profound and its quality is renowned. As a Toll Fellow from 1993, I know first hand the impact the program has on elected officials."

Adkins was a 1993 Toll Fellow when he served as a Kansas state representative.

Toll Fellows alumni include US Rep. John Carney, a former Delaware lieutenant governor; US Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, a former Hawaii state Senate president; US Rep. Todd Rokita, a former Indiana secretary of state; former North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue and former US Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

Bowers said training like that at the Toll Fellowship is important to state leaders.

"I think the sharing of ideas and techniques that have been proven to be successful in other states could possibly work in Kansas," she said. "If I can become a better legislator with training and bring it back home to share, then I feel like I have made a difference in the process. This type of training also helps me become more confident and gives me courage to stretch my comfort zone."

This year's program will be held September 5-10 in Lexington, Kentucky.

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