Contact: Cathy Drabkin
HAYS, KS -- Kansas Gov. Bill Graves will speak at the Telepower 2000 conference on Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Memorial Union of Fort Hays State University, from 10:20-10:50 a.m.
Graves will speak on "Developing Information Technologies for Kansas" and will present a vision of how the information economy can translate into economic and community development in rural Kansas. He will address such issues as ensuring that all communities have highspeed broadband access at a reasonable cost to individuals and businesses.
The two-day conference, sponsored by FHSU's Docking Institute of Public Affairs, is designed to inform rural leaders how their communities can use information technology to improve the lives of their citizens in the areas of business, education, healthcare, government, and economic development.
"We are very pleased to have the governor addressing these issues at Telepower," said Dr. Joseph Aistrup, Director of the Docking Institute. "It's critical for the viability of small communities in Kansas to embrace the information economy. Those who don't risk being left behind."
Offering a national perspective on the issue of rural access to information technology will be Christopher McLean, administrator for U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service in Washington, DC. McLean will be providing the closing keynote address.
He will speak on "Bridging the Digital Divide in Rural America," addressing progress towards closing the digital divide, accelerating private sector investment in rural broadband services, and solutions to the "last mile" challenge of connecting users to the broadband backbone.
The ninth annual Telepower conference features more than 35 presenters on such topics as developing e-commerce for small businesses, attracting IT entrepreneurs, using technology-led economic development strategies, encouraging local business-to-business e-commerce, developing e-government services, setting up telemedicine, and the advantages of long distance education.
A public debate on Internet sales tax will take place on the evening of Oct. 18 with Don Moler, executive director of the League for Kansas Municipalities, debating Erick Gustafson, director of Telecommunications Policies with Citizens for a Sound Economy.
Keynote speaker Delore Zimmerman, president of CEOPraxis, Grand Forks, ND, will provide the opening address on "Rural Reconstruction in America's New Economy."
This year's underwriting sponsors, whose support helps bring in conference speakers from around the country while keeping registration affordable for small towns and organizations, are Hays Medical Center, Southwestern Bell Telephone and the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation.
In addition, conference corporate and contributing sponsors include Rural Telephone, the Kansas Health Foundation, Sykes Enterprises, BV Solutions Group, Garden City
Information Technology Cooperative, Information Network of Kansas, WestLink Communications,Utilicorp United, Sunflower Electric Power Cooperative and the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing.
The conference will be held on Oct. 18 and 19 on the campus of Fort Hays State University in Hays, KS. Early registration for the event is $99 ($119 after Oct. 11).
For more information, or for a conference brochure, call the Docking Institute at (785) 628-5952. Conference Web site