Economics, community in western Kansas to be focus of new prosperity summit
07/15/2004

Consistent with the Docking Institute of Public Affairs' planning and conference expertise and its focus on community and economic development, the institute is pleased to announce the Western Kansas Partnership Summit, the inaugural planning meeting of the recently launched Western Kansas Partnership.

To continue the momentum from the governor and lieutenant governor's successful 2003 Kansas Prosperity Summits, which provided the basis for the Kansas Economic Growth Act of 2003, leaders of the northwest and southwest Kansas planning regions formed the Western Kansas Partnership earlier this year.

The partnership is a regional effort open to individuals and organizations from all economic sectors. The mission is to bring together public and private leaders for regional thinking, dialogue and action on economic and quality-of-life issues.

Steve Irsik, Southwest Kansas? 2003 Prosperity Summit co-chair, describes the importance of the partnership.

"Regional alliances are achieving remarkable success all over the country, both in terms of economic revitalization and enhancing quality of life," he said. "Given our relatively small population size yet our vast number of resources, southwest and northwest Kansas can achieve more by working together for the mutual benefit of us all."

FHSU's Docking Institute of Public Affairs has joined with the partnership to provide facilitation, coordination and marketing services for the new organization.

The Western Kansas Partnership Summit will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 8, 2004, at the Memorial Union on the Fort Hays State University campus. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is scheduled to deliver the opening address at 8:45 a.m. Dr. Mark Drabenstott, vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and director of the Center for the Study of Rural America, will follow with the keynote address, "Top Ten Ways to Reinvent Rural Regions."

Western Kansas Partnership co-chairs will then provide an organizational overview and lead a discussion about priority areas for the 2004-2005 legislative cycle.

In the afternoon, attendees will participate in one of six work group sessions: Comprehensive Energy Plan, Entrepreneurism Development, Marketing and Recruitment, Transportation, Value-Added Business (including biosciences) or Education and Workforce Development.

Larry McCants, Northwest Kansas 2003 Prosperity Summit co-chair, said, "These sessions will lay the foundation for year-long work group activity that will provide citizens of western Kansas a collective legislative voice in Topeka. The partnership is not just about coming together to talk about big ideas. We expect that work groups will develop and implement concrete, measurable action steps to enhance life in western Kansas over the course of the coming year.?

Registration fees for the summit are $25 per person. For additional information or a copy of the brochure, contact Casey Rackaway, special events coordinator, at (785) 628-5233 or ccrackaw@fhsu.edu.



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