Recent Events

Congressional Breakfast Series: Senate Energy Committee Staff Panel
Hosted by the Energy, Environment & Agriculture Task Force
April 10, 2018

The Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force held its first Congressional Breakfast Series event of 2018 on April 10, 2018. Attendees had the chance to network and hear from Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee staff on prospects for the Senate energy bill (S. 1460) and energy policy in the future. Panelists included Chester Carson, Majority Professional Staff Member for the Senate ENR Committee, and Brie Van Cleve, Minority Professional Staff Member for the Senate ENR Committee. Panelists discussed issues such as building energy codes, efficiency in housing and appliances, legislation that would expedite liquefied natural gas exports to non-Free Trade Agreement countries, opportunities for energy policy to be included in infrastructure legislation, future prospects for the energy bill and revisions next session, and how trade associations and impacted industries can best make their voices heard by the Senate. Many thanks to AT&T for hosting the event and the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association for sponsoring the breakfast.


2018 Education Legislative Forum
Hosted by the Education Task Force
April 9, 2018

On April 9th, the WGR Education Taskforce held its second annual Education Legislative Forum. Made possible with general support from the McKeon Group and host site American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, former Education and Workforce Chair Howard “Buck” McKeon kicked off the event with opening remarks discussing the changes in Washington since he joined Congress in 1992 and the impact of the divisions of the country on Congress’ ability to accomplish policy goals. His remarks segued well into the first panel of authorizers, representing both parties from the House Education and the Workforce and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committees. The panelists discussed progress on specific bills, such as the PROSPER Act in the House, and the possibility of the Senate taking up bipartisan legislation from the House, such as the reauthorization of the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. It was a lively discussion showing both where parties diverge on issues but also where Chambers diverge on tackling a specific bill. The day closed out with a panel representing funders from Congress – the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-Health and Human Services-Education and the Senate Budget Committee. They discussed the recently passed Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus bill, the outlook for Fiscal Year 2019, and potential disagreements over funding in the coming year. The overall event was a great success with over 60 speakers and participants.


Lunch and Learn: Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R-NJ)
Hosted by the State Relations Task Force
March 27, 2018

Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R-NJ) shared with SRTF members her history of public service and her thoughts on the opportunities and challenges for women in state and local politics. She told us that she started out in public services as the “cupcake lady” for the parent-teacher association and regaled us with stories of the years that followed – from PTA, to mayor, to County Freeholder, to the Assembly, all the while raising four children and volunteering as a first responder. Some discussion topics included New Jersey’s recently-passed pay equity bill and dealing with colleagues who may be threatened by a strong, opinionated woman.  


Whisk(e)y Tasting
Hosted by the Education Task Force
March 15, 2018

The members of WGR and their friends expanded their knowledge and their palettes at the first Whisk(e)y Tasting event. Hosted by the Education Taskforce, WGR members gathered on Capitol Hill for a lively evening learning about the various whiskey varietals. This event provided attendees the opportunity to try new things, learn their likes and dislikes, and be ready to confidently place a drink order or stir up a cocktail the next time whiskey is on the menu. Women Empowerment Network members Winning Connections and Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America made this event possible by sponsoring the location and spirits, respectively. Attendees were able to taste Slane (Irish whiskey), Balvenie DoubleWood 12 year (Scotch), Old Forester 100 Proof (Bourbon), and Woodford Reserve Rye. The whole program was brought together by whiskey expert Don Morton, the founder of local cocktail company Shrub District, whose products can be found at both bars and retailers. Don provided an entertaining and educational talk taking attendees through the tasting of the four spirits and also sponsored the event by providing a rocks glass for each attendee to take home. Don was able to field a variety of questions from the 40 attendees including how bourbon became a debate between Sens. McConnell and Schumer and how to order a whiskey cocktail to impress your guest. The evening concluded with attendees getting to try one of Shrub District’s cocktail products with their whiskey of choice.


ESSA Implementation and the Politics of Equity
Hosted by the Education Task Force
March 13, 2018

On March 13th, WGR's Education Task Force hosted its second in a series of conversations focused on equity in education, this time with a robust discussion on the implementation of No Child Left Behind's reboot, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This discussion, moderated by the Task Force's own Victoria Fosdal, featured panelists Susie Saavedra, Senior Director, Policy & Legislative Affairs at National Urban League, Chad Aldeman, Principal at Bellwether Education Partners, and Jessah Walker, Senior Federal Relations Associate at Council of Chief State School Officers, and explored where states are meeting and falling short of meeting the law's provisions to advance equity for all students. The panelists made clear that not all states and districts are created equal, with some doing a much better job than others of finding innovative ways to close equity gaps and hold themselves accountable for going above and beyond compliance of the law. 2018 will be a critical year as many of the state plans go into effect, giving us all an opportunity to see for the first time if ESSA will in fact move the needle towards creating a more equitable education system for all.


Education Task Force Restaurant Week Dinner
Hosted by the Education Task Force
January 24, 2018

On January 24th, the Education Task Force kicked off its 2018 programming with a restaurant week dinner at famed DC restaurant RPM Italian. This informal gathering gave new and returning task force members the opportunity to get to know one another better all while enjoying a delicious four course meal. And as a great conversation starter, the dinner kicked off with a winter book exchange so each task force member went home with a new winter read!


Midterm Politics in the U.S. House
Hosted by the PACs, Politics & Grassroots Task Force

January 17, 2018

On January 17, the PACs, Politics, and Grassroots Task Force hosted an insider look into the midterm elections in the U.S. House with a fascinating back-to-back panel with the DCCC and Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL), and the NRCC and Congresswoman Mia Love (R-UT). WGR members gained insight into the top races to watch in November and learned about both committees’ strategy and expectations for the election. Most surprisingly was the common theme both parties spoke about: that candidates running this fall on both sides of the aisle are motivated by a call of service to our country to make a difference.


 View past events by task force: