2023 Platte Institute Annual Legislative Summit
Platte Institute’s Annual Legislative Summit: Keep Up the Momentum
Date: September 28th
Location: Embassy Suites, Downtown Lincoln, Nebraska
Ticket Price: $20 (Complimentary for senators and their staff)
About this Event
Join us as we celebrate another groundbreaking year for the Platte Institute and the state of Nebraska! With last year’s monumental legislative successes under our belt, it’s time to harness that energy and ‘Keep Up the Momentum’ at our Annual Legislative Summit.
Pivotal Discussions: Engage in vibrant discussions on the workforce, taxes, education, and regulation. Learn about strategies to propel Nebraska into a future of innovation, competitive tax structures, refined educational paradigms, and a business-friendly regulatory environment.
Engage with Elected Leaders: This isn’t just another event; it’s a platform for the people of Nebraska to meet their representatives, share their ideas, and actively shape Nebraska’s future.
Celebrate Excellence: Be there as we announce and honor our ‘Legislator of the Year’. Celebrate the dedication and commitment that has significantly contributed to Nebraska’s progress.
Insights from the Top: Speaker Arch, Auditor Foley, and others will provide a preview into the upcoming legislative session and valuable insights into state government operations. Get an insider’s perspective on what’s next for Nebraska.
Networking & Breakfast: Start the day right! Network with like-minded individuals over a hearty breakfast before diving into enriching discussions.
Meet our guest speakers and panelist:
Jonathan Williams – ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council): Jonathan Williams is the Chief Economist and Executive Vice President of Policy at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), where he works with state policymakers, congressional leaders, and members of the private sector to develop policy solutions for the states.
Williams has spoken to audiences across all 50 states and provided testimony for the U.S. Congress, as well as numerous state legislative bodies. His work has been featured at the federal level by The White House, the Congressional Joint Economic Committee and the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means. He is a frequent guest on talk radio shows and has appeared on numerous television outlets, including the PBS NewsHour, Fox Business News and Bloomberg News. Williams was also the recipient of the prestigious Ludwig von Mises Award in Economics.
Daniel Dew – Pacific Legal Foundation: Daniel Dew directs Pacific Legal Foundation’s legal policy efforts. The legal policy team fights for individual liberty in the other two branches of government by finding principled solutions to complex problems.
Daniel has led numerous successful public policy campaigns, including home equity theft reform, judicial bias reform, emergency powers reform, and prior to his time at PLF, civil asset forfeiture reform, sentencing reform, and removing government-imposed barriers to employment.
Before joining PLF, Daniel was a legal fellow at The Buckeye Institute in Columbus, Ohio, and a visiting legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.
Rees Empey – Libertas Institute: Rees is the Director of State Government Affairs at Libertas Institute. In his role, he builds relationships with organizations and individuals across the country to export Libertas’ policy innovations and extend their positive impacts to other states. He was born in Utah and raised in Missouri.
Before joining Libertas, he was a Criminal Justice Associate with the Utah Justice Coalition. Rees earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Utah State University. While pursuing his degree, he worked with the Utah State Legislature, the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, exit polled for the 2016 election, and studied abroad in China.
Lauren Gage – American Federation for Children: Lauren Gage is the Nebraska State Director for the American Federation for Children. Prior to joining AFC, she worked at the Nebraska Catholic Conference, where she served as the Communications and Outreach Specialist. In that role, Lauren worked closely with Invest in Kids Nebraska, a project of AFC, to advance school-choice efforts in the Cornhusker State.
Diane Good Collins – Director of the Re-Entry Program, Metro Community College: Diane Good-Collins is the Director of the 180 Re-entry Assistance Program or 180 RAP at Metropolitan Community College. 180 RAP provides prison education programming and transition support to individuals leaving Nebraska jails, prisons, and treatment centers and hosts the largest on campus Re-entry Center in the United States. Since 2015, Diane and her team, primarily comprised of individuals with lived experience, have assisted over 9,000 people to obtain education, training and family sustaining employment.
Senator Danielle Conrad: A civil rights attorney and three-time electee to the Nebraska Legislature, is known for her collaboration and leadership roles including Chair of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Task Force. After reclaiming her former seat in 2022, she became the first woman to return to the Nebraska Legislature in the term limits era, currently holding the second most seniority.
Originating from rural Seward County, she graduated from the University of Nebraska and led impactful efforts at organizations like the ACLU of Nebraska. Married with two children, Senator Conrad is an active community volunteer, recognized with awards for her advocacy in education, legal leadership, and women’s health.
Heath Mello – CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce: Heath Mello, a Nebraska native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln alumnus was appointed as the CEO/President of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, on August 2, 2023. Prior to this, he served in key roles at the University of Nebraska system, including as vice president of external relations and director of state relations.
Mello’s political experience is highlighted by his eight-year tenure as a Nebraska state senator, during which he chaired the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee. Additionally, he’s held significant positions on various state and regional boards, such as Chair of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry Education Policy Council. Throughout his career, Mello has demonstrated commitment to community growth, strategic leadership, and fostering a prosperous business landscape in Nebraska.
Manish Bhatt – Senior Policy Analyst, Tax Foundation: Manish Bhatt is a Senior Policy Analyst with the Center for State Tax Policy at the Tax Foundation.
He holds an LLM in taxation from Georgetown University Law Center, a JD from St. Thomas University College of Law, and a BA from the George Washington University. Prior to joining the Tax Foundation, Manish counseled clients on corporate taxation matters at a Big Four accounting firm, served as a judge advocate in the U.S. Coast Guard, advised several startups, and taught business law as an adjunct faculty member at TCU.