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The NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders) on Wednesday issued the following press release on state Rep. Meghan Lukens, a Democrat from Steamboat who represents Eagle County, being named as one of 19 new leaders joining the national network:
Today, Colorado Representative Meghan Lukens was selected as one of 19 leaders from across the country to join the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), a selective national network of state and local elected officials with about 200 members, with Honorary Co-Chairs U.S. Senator Chris Coons and Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland.
Members of the network have been chosen from more than 2,000 nominations over NewDEAL’s 13 years, and are united by their work to enact pro-growth progressive solutions across their diverse array of communities. As part of NewDEAL, they are recognized for their pragmatic, forward-thinking approach and commitment to making government work to solve challenges facing their constituents. Members have included U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who joined as a mayor, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, and Colorado Senator Chris Hansen.
Lukens joins the group at a time when state and local leaders are on the frontlines of responding to economic issues around the cost of living and the changing nature of work, as well as challenges caused by climate change, racial inequities, threats to our democracy, and emerging technologies. At a moment when unprecedented federal resources are flowing to states, counties, and cities from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and Inflation Reduction Act, NewDEALers are supporting each other in thinking big and sharing model policies and programs, including through in-person and virtual convenings.
In one effort, NewDEAL has tracked effective uses of ARPA funds, which continue to be disbursed at the state and local levels, highlighting some of the innovative ways members of the network have improved the quality of life in their communities. NewDEALers also led a working group that released a Democracy Playbook, featuring actionable steps elected officials across all levels of state and local government can take to strengthen elections. NewDEAL Leaders’ work also has contributed to reports of policy recommendations on education, climate change, broadband, and the future of work.
NewDEALers’ next major convening will take place at the 2023 Leaders Conference, November 15-17 in Washington, DC, where about 60 members will join other innovators from the public and private sectors to discuss a forward-looking agenda for state and local Democrats to address the biggest challenges facing our country, including A.I., housing, education, climate change, and threats to our democracy.
Lukens was selected to join NewDEAL in part because of her dedication to energy infrastructure, improving education opportunities, and supporting the state’s agricultural community. One of Lukens’ key initiatives is the 2023 Assess Advanced Energy Solutions in Rural Colorado bill, aimed at surveying the landscape of energy resources available to parts of Colorado. Lukens has also sponsored a bill creating a statewide teacher externship program to provide teachers work-based learning opportunities in STEM disciplines.
NewDEAL Leaders have found broad support for their work across red, blue, and purple states and cities, with more than 20 rising to higher office in the past few years. Throughout the organization’s history, more than one in four NewDEAL Leaders has moved to higher office. These leaders include members of Congress, such as Marilyn Strickland in Washington, Brittany Pettersen in Colorado, and Jennifer McClellan in Virginia, Governor Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania, and new Mayors in cities from San Jose, CA to Stamford, CT.
“We are in a vitally important moment for state and local leaders as we work to channel transformational levels of federal aid while grappling with the challenges that will continue to affect the economic security and prosperity of Colorado for decades to come,” said Lukens. “I look forward to sharing lessons with and learning from other leaders who are setting the standard for effective governance, and I am excited to be part of NewDEAL’s efforts to expand opportunities for Americans in communities nationwide.”