Next Generation

What is the Next Generation Program?

Next Generation is a program of the National Institute for Civil Discourse that works specifically with state legislatures to address hyper polarization and incivility at the state level. Many Americans are aware of the level of political dysfunction in D.C. but fewer know that many of the same issues affect their state legislatures, as well.  Next Generation offers a free, half-day workshop titled, Building Trust through Civil Discourse which is facilitated by a trained bipartisan team of state legislators for state legislators. 

The main mission of the workshop is to provide state lawmakers with an opportunity to explore the benefits of improving the level of civil discourse in their state's legislature and more effectively work across the aisle to recover a culture where discourse and collaboration typify public policy development. The workshop has been held in sixteen states with over 1,000 state legislators having participated and in efforts to unite participants with other lawmakers from across the country, Next Generation created the National Network of State Legislators Committed to Civil Governance in August 2015. Representative Stephanie Howse (D-OH) and Representative Matt Pouliot (R-ME) served as the first co-chairs of the bipartisan network in 2016. The 2017 co-chairs were Maine State Treasurer (Former Representative) Terry Hayes (I-ME), Senator Frank LaRose (R-OH), and Representative Melissa Wintrow (D-ID). The current co-chairs are Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus (D-OH) (former OH State Representative) and Attorney Roger Katz (R-ME) (former Maine State Senator). 

Building Trust through Civil Discourse has resulted not only increased bipartisan interaction, but several states have also passed legislation that came about after discussions within the workshop among the legislators. Additionally, several states are in the process of institutionalizing Next Generation's workshop as part of their new-member training.

For more information or to learn how to get involved, contact:

Ted Celeste

Director of State Programs


Makayla Meachem

Program Coordinator


Nadine Wise

Assistant to the Director of State Programs


In today's political world, it seems there are only two sides: left and right. However, things get done in the middle. So what's the secret to getting things done? "Building Trust through Civil Discourse" is a workshop offered by NICD to legislators. Click on the states below to learn more about our presence in each state.