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Stephen F. Austin State University

Lone Star Legislative Summit set for Feb. 19-20

The fifth biennial Lone Star Legislative Summit presented by Norbord Texas Nacogdoches Inc. is set for Feb. 19-20. The event is co-hosted by State Sen. Robert Nichols and State Rep. Travis Clardy and produced by the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce.

The event will kick off with the Lone Star Reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, at the Piney Woods Country Club. Summit events begin at 7:20 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, with a breakfast meeting on the second floor of the Baker Pattillo Student Center and continue throughout the afternoon. Session topics include health care, higher education, transportation and natural resources. At least a dozen legislators from East, West and Central Texas are expected to participate.

Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Joe Straus will preview the 84th Legislature's budget and important issues at the kick-off breakfast. Nichols will provide an update on Texas transportation. Nichols is a past commissioner of the Texas Department of Transportation and chairs the Senate's transportation committee, as well as a select committee on transportation funding. Business economist Jesse Thompson will give an overview of the Texas economy and energy industry at the event's luncheon. He is on staff with the Houston branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

County commissioners and judges may earn approximately five hours of Continuing Education Unit credit by attending the summit.

The health care and insurance discussion will be moderated by Nacogdoches attorney and financial adviser Banker Phares. The panel includes Chris Traylor with the Health and Human Services System, as well as State Reps. Dan Flynn, John Frullo, Ken King and James White. Local hospital administrator Clay Farell will round out the panel.

The higher education panel includes Clardy along with State Reps. Dan Huberty, Jason Isaacs and John Raney. The moderator will be Dr. Kim Childs, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at SFA.

The natural resources panel will focus on water supply, demand and challenges. It will be moderated by Dr. Ken Farrish, director of the Division of Environmental Science and Coordinator of the Waters of East Texas Center at SFA. State Reps. Trent Ashby, Kyle Kacal, John Kuempel, Lyle Larson and Chris Paddie will participate on the panel.

Cost for the Wednesday reception is $25. Thursday breakfast is $15, and the luncheon is $25. A combination registration for all ticketed events is $50.

The event is produced by the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce and presented by Norbord. Check the chamber's website to register online and to see updates on the above information.