Lexington selected to host Southern Legislative Conference

Event will draw an estimated 1,500 lawmakers, policy experts and business leaders

Among the Kentucky elected officials present Tuesday at a news conference announcing Lexington will host the 2016 Southern Legislative Conference annual meeting July 16-20 were, from left, state Sen. Damon Thayer of Georgetown; state Senate Minority Floor Leader R.J. Palmer of Winchester; state Sen. Reggie Thomas of Lexington; Lexington Mayor Jim Gray; state House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins of Sandy Hook; state Senate President Robert Stivers of Manchester, president of the Southern Leadership Conference; state Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr of Lexington; state Rep. Robert Benvenuti of Lexington; and state Rep. Susan Westrom of Lexington.
Among the Kentucky elected officials present Tuesday at a news conference announcing Lexington will host the 2016 Southern Legislative Conference annual meeting July 16-20 were, from left, state Sen. Damon Thayer of Georgetown; state Senate Minority Floor Leader R.J. Palmer of Winchester; state Sen. Reggie Thomas of Lexington; Lexington Mayor Jim Gray; state House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins of Sandy Hook; state Senate President Robert Stivers of Manchester, president of the Southern Leadership Conference; state Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr of Lexington; state Rep. Robert Benvenuti of Lexington; and state Rep. Susan Westrom of Lexington.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 14, 2014) – Kentucky General Assembly leaders, mayors of Kentucky cities and business leaders gathered today to celebrate Lexington’s selection as the 2016 host of the nation’s largest regional meeting of state officials.

An estimated $2 million will be pumped into the local economy over the course of several mid-summer days when the 70th Annual Meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference is held in Lexington in 2016. The event, which runs from July 16-20, is expected to draw approximately 1,500 state lawmakers, policy experts, business leaders and judicial and executive branch leaders.

“Lexington is already looking forward to rolling out the red carpet for the Southern Legislative Conference,” Mayor Jim Gray said. “It’s a great opportunity for our city and our state. Thanks to our Kentucky legislators for bringing the conference to Lexington…and we’re proud Senate President Robert Stivers will be leading the SLC in 2016.”

“The SLC 2016 conference will give Lexington and the rest of Kentucky an opportunity to show state leaders from across the South, as well as business leaders from across the nation, that Kentucky is a great place to live, work or do business,” Stivers said.

As co-chairs of the planning committee for the 2016 SLC meeting, Stivers and House Speaker Greg Stumbo plan to showcase attractions, activities and businesses in Lexington, the Bluegrass Region and the entire state, anticipating a significant economic impact, plus driving tourism for future years.

Bardstown Mayor Bill Sheckles, center, president of the Kentucky League of Cities, speaks during a news conference announcing Lexington will host the 2016 Southern Legislative Conference annual meeting July 16-20. Also pictured are, from left, state Sen. Reggie Thomas of Lexington, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, state House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins of Sandy Hook, and state Senate President Robert Stivers of Manchester, president of the Southern Leadership Conference.
Bardstown Mayor Bill Sheckles, center, president of the Kentucky League of Cities, speaks during a news conference announcing Lexington will host the 2016 Southern Legislative Conference annual meeting July 16-20. Also pictured are, from left, state Sen. Reggie Thomas of Lexington, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, state House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins of Sandy Hook, and state Senate President Robert Stivers of Manchester, president of the Southern Leadership Conference.

“Hosting the 2016 SLC meeting in Lexington will give us an opportunity to show everyone who attends that Kentucky is well-suited to host major conferences and events,” Stumbo said. “We’re already seeing a great deal of excitement and commitment from elected officials and business leaders who are eager to work together to make sure the 2016 SLC meeting offers a top-notch, productive experience for our guests.”

The SLC is the largest of four regional legislative groups operating under The Council of State Governments. The 15 SLC member states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

SLC annual meetings typically provide a significant boost for the host state’s tourism and hospitality industry. This year’s meeting in Little Rock generated an estimated $2 million for the local economy.

Stivers currently serves as chair elect of the SLC. Next summer, he will begin a one-year term as SLC chairman.

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