Rep. Mathew Wollmann (R-8/Madison) isn’t on the Blue Ribbon K-12 panel, even though he works in a K-12 school district. But the freshman Rep. isn’t letting mold grow on his toes:
— Mathew Wollmann (@MathewWollmann) July 7, 2015
Rep. Wollmann is in Virginia this week for the Emerging Leaders Program of the State Legislative Leaders Foundation. Rep. Wollmann’s selection for this program indicates he’s impressing the right people:
Up to 50 of the best and brightest state legislators from across the nation take part in 4 days of challenging classroom discussions led by Professor Ed Freeman and his colleagues at the Darden School. Since 2005, over 500 legislators have benefited from their experience at the ELP, and a significant number have continued their careers in public service, many rising to positions of leadership in their states.
…To identify the best candidates, the SLLF relies on the judgment and recommendations of the current leadership in each state legislature. Every House Speaker, Senate President, and House and Senate Minority Leader is invited to nominate first or second term legislators to apply to this program [State Legislative Leaders Foundation, “Emerging Leaders Program,” SLLF.org, downloaded 2015.07.07].
SLLF says its programs draw “[v]irtually equal numbers of Republicans, Democrats, liberals and conservatives, Senate and House leaders” and focus on building leadership skills, not advocating any policy positions. The SLLF board of directors is a mix of Republican and Democratic legislators, though SLLF insists that “There are no labels in the SLLF ranks.”
There may, however, be some corporate labels. The SLLF Advisory Council, which provides the bulk of the private-sector funding for the organization, consists of Walmart, Target, POET, McDonald’s, GlaxoSmithKline, and other big corporate voices. A 2012 Truthout series deemed SLLF one of the “other ALECs” that follow the corporate playbook of creating “education” and networking opportunities for state-level officials to internalize a happy pro-corporate agenda.
While his Blue Ribbon counterparts are listening to a rehash of K-12 funding details that they should all already understand, Rep. Wollmann is networking and climbing the ladder toward leadership. Let’s see if his climb keeps him representing District 8 or if he becomes just the latest Representative from Corporate America.