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Wednesday marked the last day of UT’s Legislative Leaders Academy, an intensive three-day series of workshops designed to prepare a new crop of Tennessee state lawmakers for the challenges of the upcoming legislative session.

This year, UT hosted nine newly elected legislators, one from the Tennessee Senate and the rest from the House.

The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, in partnership with the UT Institute for Public Service’s Naifeh Center for Effective Leadership, offers the nonpartisan training every two years, when new lawmakers are elected to serve in the General Assembly.

The courses cover a range of topics centered around budgeting and public policy.

“Most of the classes provide an introductory overview of key elements of the state budget,” said Matthew Murray, director of the Baker Center. “We offer an overall budget review then take a deep dive into tax policy, economic development, K–12 funding, education policy, and social services programs.”

The classes are taught and facilitated by faculty from the Baker Center and the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, professional staff of the Institute for Public Service, and veteran legislators from Tennessee and elsewhere.

“Our overall goal is to help jump-start these newly elected members of the general assembly with core information about some of the more complicated issues they will confront in the years ahead,” Murray said.

“It is always encouraging when these newly elected legislators tell us that this orientation program was paramount to their success in the General Assembly,” said Macel Ely, executive director of the institute.

“Having an opportunity to assist our state officials in making the Tennessee government more efficient and effective is the greatest reward for us. This program makes a big difference, and the rewards are felt for all the citizens of our state.”

CONTACT:

Megan Boehnke (865-974-3242, mboehnke@utk.edu)