For newer state legislators, BILLD offers one-of-a-kind chance to develop skills needed for effective leadership and policymaking

BILLD News | March 2022

April 8, 2022

April 20 is deadline to apply for fellowship; 5-day program begins Aug. 27

The Council of State Governments’ Midwestern Legislative Conference is seeking applicants for the 27th annual Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development. The highly interactive curriculum, which is designed for legislators in their first four years of service, includes a series of leadership training courses, policymaking seminars and professional development workshops. Thirty-nine fellowships will be awarded this year to state and provincial lawmakers. The program’s competitive application process is overseen by the MLC’s BILLD Steering Committee, a bipartisan group of legislators from each of the MLC member states. Applications are due April 20; they are available at Please contact Laura Tomaka, CSG Midwest’s program manager for BILLD, for more information: ltomaka@csg. org or 630.925.1922.

Lasting value: Reflections from program Graduates


“Personal growth as a leader and one’s confidence, compassion and understanding are unleashed after attending BILLD. This is a great opportunity for newer legislators to strengthen their leadership and communication skills. … The most memorable session was about negotiations with former Nebraska Sen. David Landis. He emphasized the importance of listening and asking questions to understand issues and situations.”

North Dakota Rep. Brandy Pyle, class of 2017


“I think the whole BILLD experience is all about leadership and looking at yourself. … We were given opportunities to connect with everyone in the class. … We can sit together, come together, and learn about how to do things. It makes you look at the big picture. You get to incorporate some of their ideas into your world as a legislator, in your own state’s environment. … [It’s] an experience of a lifetime, which will carry over into your legislative career, your family life and friendships.”

Wisconsin Rep. Jesse James, class of 2021




Representative Rebecca Reimer - 2021

“My biggest takeaway from BILLD was to focus on where you can make a difference, and the more you focus on the development of fellow legislators, the more successful everyone will be. I found the civility training to be the most valuable. Prioritizing mutual respect, open communication and relationship building amongst my peers makes politics less divisive, and more importantly, we can focus on getting the work done for my state .”

South Dakota Rep. Rebecca Reimer, class of 2019


“The BILLD program provides a great opportunity to meet the people and hear about the issues in other legislatures. Speaking with fellow representatives with both similar and different concerns leads to enlightening conversations and lasting connections. … In the end, you realize that we are facing many of the same circumstances as our neighbors. Talking about what worked and what failed in approaching problems has been instructive in drawing up legislation that will fit my district.”

Nebraska Sen. Myron Dorn, class of 2019


“One of the most valuable lessons was learning to understand one’s personality and how that plays into leadership styles. I learned more about how I tend to lead than I expected — both good and bad — and that gave me a clear pathway to grow as a leader and public servant. … BILLD has helped me identify ways to build and lead new coalitions while finding bipartisan support on issues that have historically been seen as polarizing ones. … You learn that many of us are dealing with the same problems in our home states. This opened the door to discover a myriad of potential solutions to those issues. … Hands down the best educational program I have attended in my 25 years of public service.”

Ohio Rep. Sharon Ray, class of 2021