Chamber draws legislators home for 2nd annual Capitol Connect luncheon

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Each of Kilgore’s state-level lawmakers has agreed to take part in Kilgore Chamber of Commerce’s second annual Capitol Connect later this month.

An hour-and-a-half luncheon and dialogue with the local legislators, the event begins at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, in KC’s Devall Student Center Ballroom.

The last ‘Texas Legislative Update’ hosted by the chamber featured Rep. Travis Clardy (District 11), Rep. Jay Dean (Dist. 7) and a representative from the office of Sen. Bryan Hughes (Dist. 1).

For this year’s luncheon, “Everyone has confirmed,” said Kilgore Chamber President Jill McCartney. “However, Sen. Hughes may not be able to be there due to a court case he is trying.”

Seats at the event should be reserved through the chamber (903-984-5022) by Sept. 18. Early reservations for chamber members (by Sept. 11) are $25 per person; the cost is $35 after Tuesday. Early RSVPs for non-members is $35 and $45 after Sept. 11.

Corporate tables (seating for eight) cost $350 and include signage as well as reserved spots.

An event like Capitol Connect is one of the best ways for a chamber member or any local business owner in Kilgore, in Gregg County or Rusk, “to be in front of their legislators,” McCartney said, “to have a personal, one-on-one conversation with them, basically,” something that doesn’t happen on a regular basis.

“The chamber of commerce being able to provide this for our members, this type of forum, is truly a member-benefit. We open it up to non-members as well because we don’t want anybody that wants to attend to miss out.”

The first 45 minutes of the event will be focused on networking and luncheon. The legislative update begins at 12:15 p.m. and runs until 1 p.m.

Attendees can bring specific issues and concerns to present to the legislators, McCartney added.

“You have the ability to ask those questions” during the luncheon’s built-in Q&A session: “Write it on a piece of paper and submit those questions to get it up to your legislator. Each of our legislators will be given an opportunity before the questions start to say a few remarks.”

Notably, Clardy has thrown his hat into the ring to become Speaker of the House when the legislature convenes in January.

“I certainly think it adds to the excitement,” McCartney said. “We would certainly love the speaker to be an East Texas.”

Hosted by the chamber’s Government Affairs Committee, Capitol Connect is being sponsored by Kilgore Economic Development Corporation, Republic Services, Kilgore College and Edward Jones.

For more information or to reserve a spot, log on to KilgoreChamber.com or email lmorgan@kilgorechamber.com.

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