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Spring Meeting '09 Summaries



new media:
connecting with your constituents, part i

Saturday, November 14 | 9:30–10:30 a.m.

Sponsored by the Henry Toll Fellowship Program
The 2008 election of President Barack Obama left no doubt that new media such as blogs, Facebook and You Tube can swing elections.  As we head into an important mid-term and state election cycle, join Toll Fellows alumni for a panel discussion of how they successfully employ new media tools to improve constituent relations and bolster their campaigns.  Minnesota Rep. Laura Brod, Nevada Assemblyman Marcus Conklin and Oregon Rep. Sara Gelser will share their experiences using blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other new media to keep their constituents informed and to run tech savvy campaigns.  The group will also discuss the ethical and public relations considerations of using such public forums.





Minnesota Rep. Laura Brod

Henry Toll Fellows Class of 2006
Laura Brod was first elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2002. She had previously served on the New Prague City Council and the New Prague Economic Development Authority in Minnesota. Brod holds earned a bachelor’s degree in urban and regional studies/management from Minnesota State University.
As the youngest of eight children, Brod knows the value of strong families and strong communities. When she was 5 years old, her family moved to a farm near Lonsdale and then moved to Cedar Lake near New Prague years later. Brod still talks about the stories of her childhood on the farm and how that experience has helped shape her views and actions today.


Nevada Assemblyman Marcus Conklin

Henry Toll Fellows Class of 2008
Marcus Conklin was first elected to the Nevada Assembly in 2002, and is now serving his fourth term. In 2007, he was selected to be the assistant majority floor leader of the Assembly. He is chair of the Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee, and is a member of the Ways and Means Committee, and the Elections, Procedures, Ethics and Constitutional Amendments Committee.
During his tenure in the legislature, Conklin has championed consumer protection and ethics reform legislation. He was the author of Nevada’s Do Not Call legislation in 2003, and in 2007 he successfully sponsored legislation to penalize mortgage lending fraud, to better monitor gifts from the pharmaceutical companies to physicians, and new requirements for limited liability companies that give political contributions.
He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from the University of Redlands.


Oregon Rep.Sara Gelser

Henry Toll Fellow Class of 2008

Assistant Majority Leader Sara Gelser has served in the Oregon legislature since 2005, representing Philomath and Corvallis. She has served on the Revenue Committee, the Health Care Committee, and as vice chair of the Human Services and Women's Wellness Committee. During the 2007-2008 interim, Gelser continued on these committees and was appointed to the Seniors and People with Disabilities Committee and the Oregon Tort Reform Task Force.  She also serves as co-chair of the House Majority Policy Committee.
During the 2007 session, Gelser passed Karly's Law, which will improve child abuse investigations statewide, and a Medicaid waiver bill that will allow children with severe disabilities to grow up in their family homes rather than foster care or nursing facilities. She also saw successful passage of a bill to allow statewide electronic permitting for contractors. This was the largest regulatory streamlining initiative for the construction industry in the United States.  Gelser was a founding member of the new Oregon Senior and Disability Caucus, and the only female member of the 5 under 35 caucus.
Gelser earned her bachelor’s degree in history and education from Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., and a master of arts in interdisciplinary studies from Oregon State University.