|IN THE NEWS: Sen. Benjamin Downing Selected as CSG Toll Fellow|
August 21, 2015
LEXINGTON, Ky. — State Sen. Benjamin Downing is one of 48 state policymakers from across the country selected as a Council of State Governments' Henry Toll Fellow for the Class of 2015.
The Class of 2015 Toll Fellows represents 33 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.
Named for CSG founder Henry Wolcott Toll, the Toll Fellowship program 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, Ky., for an intensive six-day, five-night intellectual boot camp.
"I applied to be a Toll Fellow to challenge myself personally, to enhance and improve my leadership skills, to engage with the best and brightest across the nation, and to use all that I learn to better serve my constituents," Downing said.
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 U.S. Rep. John Carney, a former Delaware lieutenant governor; former U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, a former Hawaii state Senate president; U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, a former Indiana secretary of state; former North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue; and former U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.
Downing said programs like Toll Fellows allow state officials to share processes for solving problems.
"Continuing leadership development is important for state officials for the very same reason it's important for leaders in the private sector, in nonprofits and the military," Downing said. "It's about constantly staying sharp, avoiding getting in a rut and always being able to see beyond the horizon to the next challenge, so you can chart a course that will address it."
This year's program will be held Aug. 28-Sept. 2 in Lexington.