Motivational Speaker John O’Leary Shares His Inspirational Story During Opening Plenary Session of SLCinSTL2018

Legislators and guests were treated to a unique version of the National Anthem during the Opening Plenary Session of SLC’s 72nd Annual Meeting. Patriotic performance artist Joe Everson sang the anthem while painting an inspiring scene of the flag-raising at Iwo Jima.

The session featured inspirational speaker and national bestselling author John O’Leary. O’Leary’s book, “On Fire,” tells his incredible account of triumph over tragedy. When he was nine, he caused an explosion in his home’s garage while playing with fire and gasoline, and experienced burns covering his entire body. He was given a one percent chance to live, but overcame the odds and now uses his story to inspire audiences around the country. O’Leary challenged conference attendees to ask “What more can I do?” as they continue their public service.



Lawmakers Help Feed the Hungry

Current SLC Chair and Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard joined Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, House Speaker Todd Richardson, House Majority Floor Leader Rob Vescovo, and lawmakers and staff from the member states of the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) to package more than 50,000 meals for the St. Louis Area Foodbank. The meal packaging effort was part of SLC’s annual Campaign Against Hunger event that was started in 2011.

SLC sponsors food-packaging events at each of its annual meetings in an effort to provide food to the hungry, and to bring legislators from its member states together with members of the local communities. The event is organized in conjunction with The Outreach Program, a non-profit 501(c)(3) based in Iowa that organizes similar events around the country, and has helped to package more than 354 million meals to date.

President Pro Tem Richard spearheaded this year’s event that also made donations on behalf of SLC to Outreach, Inc.; St. Louis Area Food Bank, the Emergency Assistance Ministry Pantry; and the Harvey Kornblum Food Pantry.


Southern State Lawmakers Convene in St. Louis for 72nd Annual Meeting

Attach50267_20180721_091145 (1)ST. LOUIS – State lawmakers, legislative staff and policy experts from 15 Southern states will convene July 21-25 in St. Louis, Missouri, for the 72nd Annual Meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC). The meeting is expected to bring together more than 1,300 legislators, legislative staff and guests from across the region and generate nearly $2.1 million in direct spending for the St. Louis area* while providing an economic boost for the entire state. The agenda, guided by SLC chair Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R- Joplin, centers on important regional and national policy issues.

“On behalf of the Missouri General Assembly, I am proud to welcome state lawmakers and their guests from around the South to the Show-Me State,” said Senate President Pro Tem Richard. “The SLC annual meeting is about sharing effective policy solutions, regardless of party or ideology, so that we each can serve our constituents better. That’s what good governance is all about.”

Each SLC annual meeting focuses, in part, on the innovative programs of the host state. Various committee sessions will feature high-level officials from the Missouri Departments of Economic Development, Higher Education and Corrections, as well as the Missouri Farm Bureau and the University of Missouri’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. In addition, technical tours highlighting Boeing St. Louis; Ameren Missouri’s Maryland Heights Renewable Energy Center and Dorsett Training Center; and the Ag Coast of America, the Mississippi River, will offer participants the chance to see local successes first-hand.

The annual meeting’s agenda also includes two plenary sessions, which will feature Missouri natives John O’Leary, inspirational speaker and Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops. Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop, will give the keynote address at a forum focusing on women in leadership. In addition, Pete Herschend, co-founder and co-owner of Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation, will deliver remarks to the conference’s executive committee.

Attendees from across the region will have the opportunity to give back to the St. Louis community during their stay. On Sunday, July 22, attendees and volunteers will package more than 50,000 meals for the St. Louis Area Foodbank during the SLC/Ron Richard Campaign Against Hunger.

Louisiana House Speaker Taylor F. Barras, R-New Iberia, chair elect, is expected to be elected as the organization’s chair before the conclusion of the annual meeting.

About the Southern Legislative Conference: Established in 1947, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) is a non-partisan, member-driven organization comprising presiding officers and key legislators from 15 Southern states, and it is the largest of the four regional conferences of The Council of State Governments. The SLC’s mission to foster and encourage intergovernmental cooperation among its member states is achieved, in large measure, through the ongoing work of the Conference’s six standing committees. The Annual Meeting of the SLC, convened as the focal point and apex of its activities, is the premier public policy forum for Southern state legislatures and the largest regional gathering of legislative members and staff.

*As determined by Explore St. Louis