Senator Alvarado appointed to leadership roles on National Conference of State Legislatures

Published 11:37 am Thursday, January 20, 2022

The National Conference of State Legislatures has approved the nominations of Sen. Ralph Alvarado (R-Winchester), Sen. Whitney Westerfield (R-Crofton), and Sen. Max Wise (R-Campbellsville) to leadership positions on NSCL Standing Committees.

Each senator brings his respective area of expertise and proven leadership as professionals and members of the Kentucky General Assembly to this prestigious leadership position. Alvarado, Westerfield and Wise’s terms for their respective committees begins immediately and will conclude at the 2023 NCSL Legislative Summit in August 2023.

Sen. Alvarado, a medical doctor, will serve as vice-chair of NCSL’s Standing Committee on Health and Human Services. He serves as chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee and as a member of the Medicaid Oversight and Advisory Committee.

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The Health and Human Services Committee is responsible for protecting states’ interests in federal decisions regarding Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicare, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program.

The committee is also concerned with Child Care Development Block Grants, early learning and pre-kindergarten, child welfare, child support, aging services, and a host of other programs that provide critical services. The committee also provides members the opportunity to benchmark against other states in shaping health and human services policy and addressing key health and human services issues in the state.

“I am eager to participate in this capacity and am honored to be nominated and approved by NCSL,” Alvarado said. “I’m proud of the accomplishments my colleagues and I in the Kentucky General Assembly have made over the years. I look forward to bringing perspective to the NCSL Health and Human Services Committee and collaborating with legislators across the nation who care as much about this area of public policy as I do.”

Sen. Westerfield, Esq., has been re-appointed to continue serving as co-chair of the NCSL’s Standing Committee on Law, Criminal Justice and Public Safety. He serves as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Standing Committee on Law, Criminal Justice and Public Safety addresses underlying principles for a balanced state-federal system and takes policy positions to preserve state sovereignty and set a high standard of state laws for preemption. The committee’s broad jurisdiction includes federalism and preemption issues, constitution and constitutional law, civil rights and liability issues, and criminal justice.

“I have a tremendous passion for criminal justice policy and have dedicated much of my time as a lawmaker to assessing policy solutions based on data and not emotions. Under the law, we cannot allow emotions to dictate statute,” Westerfield said. “So as state legislatures across the United States contend with many of the same issues facing the Commonwealth, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a voice that will lead to the best policy solutions that improve the justice system and promote public safety for all Kentuckians.”

Sen. Wise, an adjunct professor at the University of Kentucky Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce will serve as vice-chair of NCSL’s Standing Committee on Education. He serves as chair of the Senate Education Committee and is co-chair of the Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee.

The Education Standing Committee educates Congress and federal agencies about state concerns and serves as a forum for state legislators and legislative staff to learn about and share information regarding programs and initiatives in other states. The Education Committee has jurisdiction over P-20 education database issues, including early childhood education, K-12 education and teachers, special education, and higher education.

“Strengthening education is the remedy for many of the challenges we face as a society,” Wise said. “When we prepare children for life’s challenges, they become successful. Ensuring future generations are well equipped to become leaders who have long term positive impacts on the challenges of life. Crime would be lower, health disparities would improve, the economy would prosper and so much more. Education touches everything and is the great equalizer. The work of the NCSL Education Committee can identify best practices to improve education systems across the country. I’m excited to participate.”

Alvarado, Westerfield, and Wise will have a variety of responsibilities, including planning the committee’s agenda, suggesting program topics and speakers, reviewing proposed policy directives and resolutions and presiding over programs.

The committees develop NCSL’s policy positions on federal issues of interest to state legislatures and provide a forum for state legislators to discuss key public policy issues of interest to states. NCSL was founded in 1975 and represents the legislatures in the states, territories and commonwealths of the United States. Its mission is to advance the effectiveness, independence and integrity of legislatures and to foster interstate cooperation and facilitate the exchange of information among legislatures.