Center for Effective Lawmaking

Inside the 6th Annual Research Conference at the Center for Effective Lawmaking

Group photo outside the UVA Rotunda (Photo by Jenna Huber, Batten School).

Inside the 6th Annual Research Conference at the Center for Effective Lawmaking

The Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL) hosted its Sixth Annual Research Conference on Monday, June 10, 2024 at the University of Virginia (UVA) in Charlottesville, VA. Nearly 40 attendees from a wide range of research institutions and organizations came from across the country to discuss and evaluate the ideas connected with effective lawmaking, specifically the three main research areas of the CEL: identification of the characteristics of those who would likely become effective lawmakers once elected; cultivation of effective lawmakers and institutional structures within U.S. legislative bodies; and accountability of legislators for their lawmaking effectiveness. Conducted in the Dome Room of the world-renowned Rotunda at UVA, the opening remarks of the conference were delivered by CEL co-directors Craig Volden and Alan Wiseman (of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at UVA and the Department of Political Science at Vanderbilt University, respectively); they spoke of the current and upcoming work of the CEL and how the research conference plays an integral part of the CEL’s activities.

Opening remarks within the Dome Room of the Rotunda (Photo by Colin Achilles, CEL).

The conference featured five research paper presentations:

  • “Gendered Perceptions of Legislative Influence,” Jaclyn Kaslovsky (Rice University).
  • “The Effects of Cosponsorship Networks on Legislative Success among Women in Congress,” Markie McBrayer (University of Idaho).
  • “Wealth and Policymaking in the U.S. House of Representatives,” Darrian Stacy (United States Naval Academy).
  • “Effective Lawmaking Behind the Scenes,” Erinn Lauterbach (Villanova University).
  • “Does Credit Claiming Shape the Public’s (Mis)Perceptions of Legislative Effectiveness?,” Michael Kistner (University of Houston).

In addition, several CEL Grantees gave presentations of their research and findings that have  emerged from their CEL-sponsored  projects:

  • “Congressional Campaign Strategy and Bipartisan Tendencies,” Rachel Porter (University of Notre Dame).
  • “Campaigning on Compromise,” Mackenzie Dobson (University of Virginia).
  • “Personal Relationships and Legislative Effectiveness in the U.S. Congress,” Jason Roberts (University of North Carolina).

The Center also presented its annual award for the best publication on effective lawmaking published in the previous calendar year during the Conference.  The recipients of the 2024 award were Pamela Ban (UC San Diego), Ju Yeon “Julia” Park (Ohio State University and CEL Faculty Affiliate), and Hye Young You (New York University and CEL Faculty Affiliate) for their article in American Political Science Review, “How are Politicians Informed? Witnesses and Information Provision in Congress.”

Ju Yeon “Julia” Park (r) being presented with the CEL’s Best Publication award by co-director Alan Wiseman (l) (Photo by Jenna Huber, Batten School).

The conference concluded with a dinner at the nearby restaurant, The Local, where attendees heard from former Parliamentarian of the United States House of Representatives (and CEL Advisory Board Member) Thomas Wickham, who offered an inside view of his years of service, and various behind-the-scenes recollections as it relates to the current Congress, and effective lawmaking as a whole.

Thomas Wickham (l) responding to a question from co-director Craig Volden (r) (Photo by Jenna Huber, Batten School).

The CEL was proud to be able to gather such an exciting group of scholars, to present their new research on effective lawmaking in American legislatures. In addition to the support from UVA staff for making this event possible, we thank all the presenters and participants for their contributions to the field, and we look forward to seeing how their work develops between now and our next (7th) annual conference at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN in June 2025.

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