League of Women Voters Awards Ted Celeste the 2019 Democracy in Action Award

Thu, 2019-05-09

For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 9, 2019  
Contact: Nadine Wise
Next Generation at The National Institute for Civil Discourse

Celeste selected for his work promoting and training elected officials across America to engage in civil discourse

COLUMBUS, OH. – The League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus (LWVMC) honored Ted Celeste with the 2019 Democracy In Action award. 

During Wednesday’s 27th annual Democracy in Action event at the Fawcett Center, LWVMC brought supporters and community leaders together to recognize Mr. Celeste. According to LWVMC, honorees “demonstrate a long-term commitment to and a zeal for increasing the level of political activism and knowledge within the community.”

Ted Celeste is the founder of the Next Generation Program at the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD). His goal is to inspire and support state legislators who want to promote greater understanding and better decision-making.  Mr. Celeste has gathered wide respect among legislators of both parties from around the country.

Next Generation’s goal is to create and strengthen relationships across the aisle through mutual trust based on effective communication. Next Generation is housed at NICD, an organization which works to address incivility and political dysfunction in American democracy by promoting structural and behavior change.

Honorary Co-Chairs for the LWVMC event included his brother and former Ohio Governor Dick Celeste, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, and former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown. Justice Brown is also the Co-Chair of Revive Civility, another NICD program aimed at improving civil discourse among the public. Secretary LaRose, a former Next Generation Co-Chair, is currently leading efforts to have the National Association of Secretaries of State officially recognize civility. Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer, NICD Executive Director Emerita, worked as Governor Celeste’s Chief of Staff.

“I am thrilled to be honored for my effort to change the political dysfunction in our state legislatures around the country. I am encouraged that our dedicated effort to change the tone of the discourse has reached over 1,000 legislators, and we are beginning to see results,” said Mr. Celeste.

In April, Mr. Celeste and Next Generation trained eight current or former state legislators to become facilitators for their unique “Building Trust through Civil Discourse” workshops across the country. The group of lawmakers represented eight different states from both political parties and included current and former majority and minority leaders. To become a facilitator, Next Generation recruits current or former legislators who are passionate about improving civil discourse in states nationwide and show commitment to working across the aisle. 

Next Generation has now trained 48 facilitators who will improve  civic culture in states nationwide and are committed to working across the aisle. Next Generation has hosted 26 “Building Trust through Civil Discourse” workshops in 16 states with over 1,000 state legislators participating.

The “Building Trust through Civil Discourse” workshop aims to provide legislators with an opportunity to improve the level of civil discourse in their state's legislature and empower them to work more effectively across the aisle. It’s an energizing, legislator-led program that aims to improve a culture where discourse and collaboration typify public policy development.

Just last weekend, Mr. Celeste organized a workshop for legislators who were attending the State Legislative Leadership Foundation’s Spring Leadership Summit in Boston. Fellow legislative leaders from all over the country gathered to understand each other’s values and humanize “the other side.”

“Next Generation is remarkably impactful. From talking about the challenges and need for civil discourse to the creation of action plans, really significant achievements come out of the program,” said Keith Allred, Executive Director of NICD. “It’s hard to point to any program in the country that is working with elected officials and entire bodies of state legislators that advances the ball in concrete ways like Next Generation.”

To learn more about Mr. Celeste and Next Generation, please visit www.NxtGenUSA.org.