District 17 lawmakers hear testimony on panel District 17 legislators Senator Ben Nesselhuf of Vermillion and Representative Jamie Boomgarden of Chancellor recently served on a panel for South Dakota Partners in Policymaking. The event was held in Pierre on Jan. 30. This statewide training for adults with disabilities and/or parents and family members of individuals with disabilities is a national program, now in its 17th year in South Dakota. Since the programâ�?�?s inception in South Dakota, over 380 individuals have completed the empowerment, self-advocacy training. Partners in Policymaking is a six-month training course, one weekend per month, from November through April. Sessions are held in Pierre and in Sioux Falls. Participants of SD Partners in Policymaking are from all-over South Dakota. The January session of the six-month leadership course focused on legislature and one of the exercises included presenting mock testimony on actual bills in the current South Dakota legislative session. The panel members (comprised of Senator Nesselhuf, Representatives Boomgarden, Thompson & Lucas and Lt. Governor Daugaard) provided feedback and comments to the group. Partners in Policymaking is sponsored in part by grants from the SD Council on Development Disabilities, Childrenâ�?�?s Care Hospital & School, Center for Disabilities of Sanford School of Medicine at USD, and SD Parent Connection. South Dakota Advocacy Services is the facilitating agency and Sandy Stocklin Hook is the project coordinator. Graduation ceremonies and continuing education classes for those who graduated in prior years will be held April 17-18 in Sioux Falls at the Ramada Inn & Suites. For an application for Year 18 of Partners in Policymaking or more information call 1-800-658-4782 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.