Winter 2014 Contents
  • By NBCSL
  • By Representative Joe Armstrong (TN), NBCSL President currently serves as the 10th President of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL). Representative Armstrong began his political career in 1982 as the youngest member of the Knox County Commission and was elected to the Tennessee General Assembly in 1988. He has served as Chair of the Health and Human Resources committee, Chair of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators, and was appointed to the White House Health Task Force on Health Reform. Throughout his tenure, Representative Armstrong has sponsored key legislation to improve the quality of life for all citizens of the State of Tennessee, including the Meharry Wellness Program, the Tennessee Health Safety Net Program, and the Tennessee Pre-K Program.
  • FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    By LaKimba B. DeSadier, NBCSL Executive Director has served as the Executive Director for NBCSL since 2003. She has worked to promote the organization in state legislatures, as well as increase its membership and visibility nationwide.


Meet Our Writers

  • Ohio State Representative is honored to serve her second term as state representative in the 33rd Ohio House District, which includes the city of Cincinnati, Springfield Township, and Hamilton County suburbs.  Rep. Reece is also the newly-elected president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus.  Rep. Reece is an active member of New Friends Baptist Church. She is a current member of the Order of Eastern Stars, NAACP, and is a founding member of the National Urban League of Young Professionals. 
  • Texas State Representative represents District 100, which includes parts of Mesquite and Dallas, in the Texas House of Representatives. He was first elected in a special election in April 2010. He was re-elected in November 2010 and again in November 2012. Today, he serves on four prominent committees: as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, as Vice Chair of the House Committee on General Investigating & Ethics, the House Committee on Elections, and the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations. He also serves on the House and Senate Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Education, Governance, Excellence, and Transparency.

  • Immediate Past President, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) is chief of police of Petersburg, Va., and former national president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), which is based in Alexandria, VA. NOBLE seeks to ensure equity in the administration of justice in the provision of public service to all communities, and to serve as the conscience of law enforcement by being committed to justice by action.
  • Co-founder of Higher Heights Activist and political strategist is recognized for her innovative leadership style, commitment to expanding the civic participation of communities of color and advancing progressive public policies that build sustainable communities. Carr has held senior management positions with key national organizations including: Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. She is a frequent contributor to NAACP’s The Brock Report and appears on Fox News Live and several other media outlets. She was named a “Rising Star” in The Capitol’s 2009 40 under 40 edition.
  • Special Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs serves as Special Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Prior to joining the White House, Abraham served as the Deputy National Political Director on the Obama-Biden 2012 campaign, tasked with managing political strategy and operations in swing states. After the election, Abraham was named Director of Public Engagement for the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee. Abraham is a native of Springfield, VA.

Perspectives

  • By Yohannes Abraham, Special Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs serves as Special Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Prior to joining the White House, Abraham served as the Deputy National Political Director on the Obama-Biden 2012 campaign, tasked with managing political strategy and operations in swing states. After the election, Abraham was named Director of Public Engagement for the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee. Abraham is a native of Springfield, VA.

  • By Glynda C. Carr, Co-founder of Higher Heights Activist and political strategist is recognized for her innovative leadership style, commitment to expanding the civic participation of communities of color and advancing progressive public policies that build sustainable communities. Carr has held senior management positions with key national organizations including: Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. She is a frequent contributor to NAACP’s The Brock Report and appears on Fox News Live and several other media outlets. She was named a “Rising Star” in The Capitol’s 2009 40 under 40 edition. and Kimberly Peeler-Allen, Co-founder of Higher Heights
  • LEGISLATOR PERSPECTIVE
    By The Honorable Alicia Reece, Ohio State Representative is honored to serve her second term as state representative in the 33rd Ohio House District, which includes the city of Cincinnati, Springfield Township, and Hamilton County suburbs.  Rep. Reece is also the newly-elected president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus.  Rep. Reece is an active member of New Friends Baptist Church. She is a current member of the Order of Eastern Stars, NAACP, and is a founding member of the National Urban League of Young Professionals. 
  • By The Honorable Eric Johnson, Texas State Representative represents District 100, which includes parts of Mesquite and Dallas, in the Texas House of Representatives. He was first elected in a special election in April 2010. He was re-elected in November 2010 and again in November 2012. Today, he serves on four prominent committees: as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, as Vice Chair of the House Committee on General Investigating & Ethics, the House Committee on Elections, and the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations. He also serves on the House and Senate Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Education, Governance, Excellence, and Transparency.

Highlights

  • By Chief John I. Dixon, III, Immediate Past President, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) is chief of police of Petersburg, Va., and former national president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), which is based in Alexandria, VA. NOBLE seeks to ensure equity in the administration of justice in the provision of public service to all communities, and to serve as the conscience of law enforcement by being committed to justice by action.
  • By Ajenai Clemmons, MPP, NBCSL Policy Director serves as NBSCL’s policy director. She was formerly the ombudsman for Denver’s Office of the Independent Monitor, where she helped establish a civilian agency that monitors police and sheriff internal affairs investigations. She has worked in the Iowa State Legislature as well as non-profit and private sectors. Ms. Clemmons holds a Master of Public Policy and B.A. in International Relations, Spanish, and Latin American History.
  • By Jennifer Blemur, Esq., NBCSL Policy Associate serves as a Policy Associate for NBCSL. Ms. Blemur staffs several committees including Health and Human Services and Law, Justice, and Ethics. A recently barred lawyer in the state of Maryland, Ms. Blemur maintains a passion for justice and fair play for the underserved. Prior to joining NBCSL, Ms. Blemur worked with the U.S. Committee on the Judiciary and the U.S. Committee on Homeland Security for the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • By Michael D. Reed, NBCSL Policy Analyst serves as a Policy Analyst for NBCSL. Prior to joining NBCSL, Mr. Reed worked for the National Conference of State Legislatures where he managed policy development, lobbying, and federal affairs on education, labor, and trade issues. Mr. Reed’s previous government experience includes serving as an aide in the U.S. Senate for four years and as an aide in the New Jersey Governor’s Office.
  • By NBCSL
  • By Michael D. Reed, NBCSL Policy Analyst serves as a Policy Analyst for NBCSL. Prior to joining NBCSL, Mr. Reed worked for the National Conference of State Legislatures where he managed policy development, lobbying, and federal affairs on education, labor, and trade issues. Mr. Reed’s previous government experience includes serving as an aide in the U.S. Senate for four years and as an aide in the New Jersey Governor’s Office.
  • By Jennifer Blemur, Esq., NBCSL Policy Associate serves as a Policy Associate for NBCSL. Ms. Blemur staffs several committees including Health and Human Services and Law, Justice, and Ethics. A recently barred lawyer in the state of Maryland, Ms. Blemur maintains a passion for justice and fair play for the underserved. Prior to joining NBCSL, Ms. Blemur worked with the U.S. Committee on the Judiciary and the U.S. Committee on Homeland Security for the U.S. House of Representatives.
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From NBCSL Website

  • March 2015

    Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization in Congress
    The 114th Congress is considering reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The House rewrite of the bill that has provided a framework for education, allows states more flexibility in their K-12 requirements, including how Title I dollars are spent and teacher accountability. Several education policy advocates have come together to submit recommendations on how Congress should move forward in providing children with access to quality education.

    Legislative Updates: March 2015
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  • States Marshal Change on Immigration Reform
    America is considered a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, created by immigration policies that have enabled many to call the U.S. home. These policies are also a matter of contention, especially within the halls of federal and state governments. Issues such as border security, access to foreign workers, and creating a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants across the country remain a concern.
    Model Legislation
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  • Using Motor Vehicle Offices to Meet Critical Needs
    States often face challenges in linking vital, public programs and services to eligible groups—especially when the targeted groups are disparate, hard to identify, or historically difficult to reach. As a result, policymakers have sought to utilize existing state-wide institutions to connect with constituents. An example of this is working with a state department of motor vehicles.
    State Issues
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