Dear Senate Colleagues:
The United States is a land of rich opportunities and a beacon of democracy for the world. How we deploy and share our rich resources and make room for others to enjoy the benefits of freedom and opportunity will determine the future of our country. The States play a central role in creating the real-world policies and programs that empower all our constituents to live safe, healthy, and productive lives.
The States decide how education, healthcare, and public safety will be delivered and made accessible. They are responsible for the stewardship of resources and creation of essential infrastructure. They are the frontline responders to local crises, such as the hurricanes that devastated some States and our Island neighbors. States ensure that the rule of law is equitably enforced, protecting citizens, and providing clear guidelines for the resolution of conflict.
At the Fall Senate Presidents’ Forum, we learned that politicians in some countries do not believe that the American ideals of freedom, transparency, and the rule of law are the actual reality of life in the US. It is imperative to clarify this misunderstanding. While Washington debates fill the news, the States are quietly, constantly in action, meeting the daily needs of the people. It is at the State level that one observes the true working of democracy.
In my years of public service, I have seen State leaders take responsibility for many heavy burdens of leadership. It is a major undertaking to try to address fairly the differing needs of our constituents. We are charged to weigh and measure needs and balance them against available resources. Often, we cannot please all parties. But, as a democracy, we have structures that allow debate, dissension, and, ultimately, resolution to occur in a well-regulated and peaceful manner. It is this balanced and conscientious consideration of the greater good that maintains a stable, productive society. That is the work of State Senate leaders.
The lessons we share at the Senate Presidents’ Forum help State Senate leaders to bring fresh ideas and new perspectives to the challenges of leadership in their States. We share information without regard to partisanship or ideology. Our goal is to better serve our States. And the Senate Presidents’ Forum has been a valuable source of best practices and new perspectives to help meet this goal.
For the past 24 years, the Senate Presidents’ Forum has created an environment of collegial respect and information exchange. It is a model of collaborative leadership. I am honored to serve as its Chair, and invite all State Senate leaders to join our productive, problem-solving discussions.
Sen. Wayne Niederhauser
President – Utah State Senate
Sen. Wayne Niederhauser
Senate Presidents’ Forum
26 Main Street
Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706
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