The La Follette School of Public Affairs has named Heidi Normandin as its director of legislative outreach and director of the Wisconsin Family Impact Seminars and Committee Connect. Since August 2016, Normandin (MA ’98) has served as associate director of the two programs.
The Family Impact Seminars have been sharing high quality, objective research with state legislators since 1993. Responding to legislators’ information needs, the seminars feature state and national experts on a wide range of relevant topics, including workforce development, early brain development, homelessness, and prisoner re-entry.
The La Follette School assumed leadership of the highly regarded program – along with the Committee Connect initiative – in summer 2016 with Hilary Shager (MPA ’05, PhD ’12) serving as director until March 2018.
“Since joining the La Follette School two years ago, Heidi has taken the Wisconsin Family Impact Seminars to new heights,” said Director and Professor Susan Yackee. “A proud La Follette School alumna, she led the development of two highly successful programs for UW–Madison faculty and staff to collaborate and share their evidence-based research with state lawmakers, legislative assistants, and legislative staff members.”
Committee Connect provides an easy, single point of contact for legislative committee leaders and their staff to access the vast expertise at UW–Madison and inform their decision-making. The initiative has brought together 60 legislators and 85 faculty and staff members since its inception in 2015.
Both efforts use a nonpartisan approach, which legislators say is needed more than ever in the politicized environment at the State Capitol.
In September 2017, Normandin developed and led La Follette School’s Office Hours at the Capitol. The drop-in event at the State Capitol allows lawmakers and legislative staff members to chat with UW–Madison faculty members on topics of high legislative interest.
Normandin worked with both programs for 5½ years when they were in UW–Madison’s School of Human Ecology. She previously worked at the Denver-based Education Commission of the States, FAST National Training and Evaluation Center, UW-Madison Center for Health Policy and Program Evaluation, and Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau.