Rep. Kathleen James 

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MANCHESTER — State Rep. Kathleen James has been selected for the Council of State Governments’ Henry Toll Fellowship, a leadership training program that will begin in earnest next month in Kentucky.

The organization describes the program as “an intense leadership experience that challenges participants to move out of their comfort zones and take an introspective look at how they view themselves as leaders.”

James, of Manchester, is assistant majority leader in the Vermont House Democratic Caucus and served the past two terms as clerk of the House Education Committee. She and Rep. Seth Bongartz represent the Bennington-4 district, including Manchester, Arlington, Sandgate and part of Sunderland.

It’s her second appointment to a national leadership program in as many months. In June, James was one of 50 lawmakers selected for the Emerging Legislative Leaders Program, sponsored by the State Legislative Leaders Foundation and held at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

Council of State Governments executive director, David Adkins, said fellows are selected based on their “demonstrated commitment to solve problems, to work collaboratively to get things done, and their belief that state government can and must be a force for good.”

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The fellows represent every region of the country, all three branches of state government – executive, legislative and judicial – and both major political parties. Despite those differences, “they share one thing in common — they are all people of purpose with a passion for public service,” Adkins said.

The fellows, representing 32 states, will meet at the Council of State Governments headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky, for a five-day leadership boot camp designed to stimulate personal assessment and growth, and foster networking among participants.

The program’s alumni include five state/territorial house speakers, three sitting state supreme court justices, 10 sitting members of Congress, five sitting governors and 200 state and territorial legislators.

The program has graduated 1,300 fellows since it was established in 1986.


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