Jackson, MS—Mississippi House of Representatives Speaker Philip Gunn (R-Clinton), chair of the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), will convene the group’s 71st Annual Meeting July 29 in Biloxi. The meeting is expected to bring together more than 1,300 state legislators, legislative staff and guests from the SLC’s 15 member states. Mississippi last hosted this meeting in 2000.

“I am pleased to welcome Southern state lawmakers and their guests to the 71st SLC Annual Meeting,” said Speaker Gunn. “I know attendees will enjoy their stay with us, and I hope they will leave the Gulf Coast more informed about the advances Mississippi has made.”

The Meeting agenda features some of Mississippi’s recent and effective programs. The state’s “Education Works” reforms, coastal restoration following Hurricane Katrina, and economic development in The Golden Triangle will be highlighted.

In addition, technical tours will offer participants the chance to see first-hand local innovations and successes. This year’s tours are scheduled for Huntington Ingalls Industries, NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center, The University of Southern Mississippi’s Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center and the Pascagoula River Audubon Center.

Also highlighting the state, Mississippi natives Archie Manning and Apollo 13 Astronaut Fred Haise will speak at the plenary sessions. Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture Cindy Hyde-Smith will give the keynote at a forum on women in leadership.

In order to give back to the Gulf Coast community, attendees will come together on Sunday, July 30, at the Mississippi Coast Convention Center to package 50,000 meals for donation to Mississippi Food

Network. This community service event, the SLC/Mark Norris Campaign Against Hunger, is a valued tradition at SLC annual meetings.

Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard of Missouri, chair elect, is expected to be elected the organization’s chair before the meeting concludes on August 2. At that time, Speaker Gunn will become the immediate past chair.

For more information, contact Colleen Cousineau with SLC at 404-633-1866. For media wishing to attend SLC, you may register on-site at the Mississippi Coast Convention Center and attend the events and committee meetings publicized by SLC.