Mobile, Alabama – Delegates to the 67th Annual Meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), the Southern Office of The Council of State Governments, today voted Speaker David Ralston of Georgiachair elect of the Conference. Delegates from SLC’s 15 member states unanimously elected Speaker Ralston to succeed Senator Keith Ingram of Arkansas, who was elected SLC chair. Senate President Robert Stivers of Kentucky was elected vice chair of the Conference.
Programmatic highlights of the 67th annual meeting included an opening plenary session featuring Bo Jackson, ESPN’s Sport Science “Greatest Athlete of All Time” and a closing plenary with Stephen Foster Black, founder and president of Impact Alabama. Each annual meeting focuses, in part, on the innovative programs of the host state, and Alabama’s successes in the management of public pensions, water, rural housing, global supply chains, and school safety are a sampling of topics discussed at substantive committee sessions. Also, a fiscal legislative plenary focused on Alabama’s workforce development strategy for the 21st century, featuring Greg Canfield, Secretary, Alabama Department of Commerce; Dr. Mark Heinrich, Chancellor, Alabama Community College System; and Jim Bolte, President of Toyota Motors and Manufacturing, Alabama.
The SLC/Mark Norris Campaign Against Hunger brought together SLC participants to assemble 20,000 meals, to be distributed to families in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. Outreach, Inc., SLC’s project partner, recently was awarded the prestigious Daily Point of Light Award by President Barack Obama and President George H. W. Bush, presented at the White House, for their long-standing commitment to provide food, water, medical care and education to millions of children in the United States and in East Africa.
In addition to the substantive programs, technical tours offered legislators a chance to see first-hand innovative approaches to common challenges. These site visits give attendees an opportunity to grasp a specific understanding of a program that could potentially be replicated within their home state. This year’s technical tours visited the Port of Mobile, James M. Barry Electric Generating Plant, and Waters Nursery and Sirmon Farms.
As chair elect of the SLC, Speaker Ralston will assist the chair in executing the activities of the Conference, guide the Conference in policy deliberations, and serve as liaison to the House and Senate leaders of the member states. As an officer of the SLC, he also plans to host the Conference in Georgia in the year 2015.
Founded in 1947, the Southern Legislative Conference is one of four regional legislative offices operating under The Council of State Governments. The mission of the Southern Office is to foster and encourage intergovernmental cooperation among its 15 member states, the largest regional coalition with common interests and goals served by the offices of the Council. By working together within the SLC and participating on its committees, Southern state legislative leaders are able to speak in a distinctive, unified voice to address the issues that affect their states and the greater region.