Kilgore Chamber of Commerce and its partners in the East Texas Coalition have officially sold out their seats at the 2019 Capitol Connect, but they might be able to squeeze just a few more folks into the Devall Ballroom later this month.

Reservations include about 30 tables with 250 chairs, reserved by business leaders from across the region after the event was significantly expanded this fall. Set Sept. 30 at Kilgore College, the initiative now encompasses nine East Texas chambers of commerce.

With that larger footprint, the revamped ‘Texas Legislative Update’ will have four lawmakers on the panel: confirmations are in-hand from Sen. Bryan Hughes (District 1), Rep. Jay Dean (District 7), Rep. Chris Paddie (District 9) and Rep. Travis Clardy (District 11). District 5 Rep. Cole Hefner was previously slated for the event but will no longer attend.

President of the originating chamber, Kilgore’s Jill McCartney is excited to pack in a crowd for the review of the year’s legislative session and an audience Q&A with the lawmakers.

“I think it’s the fact that we came together as a grouping of chambers of commerce to be more of a voice for East Texas, to let our legislators know that we want to be recognized,” she said. “I don’t know that there’s been an event like this previously, where nine chambers in East Texas have come together to support an event.”

Hosted by East Texas Coalition, participating chambers include Gladewater, Henderson, Jacksonville, Kilgore, Lindale, Longview, Nacogdoches, Shelby County and Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce.

“This is a recap of the 86th (Legislative Session),” McCartney noted. “We are asking our guests and our attendees to bring questions with them, or they can email them to us here at the chamber,” via

Gene Keenon, manager of municipal and government affairs for Republic Services, will return as Capitol Connect moderator. He’s been a longtime member of the Kilgore Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee, McCartney said, in addition to the many hours and miles he spends crisscrossing East Texas to interface with local leaders.

“He just does a great job. He knows all of the players involved and has a great relationship with them.”

The event is co-sponsored by Closure Systems International, Republic Services, Kilgore Economic Development Corporation and Kilgore College.

Capitol Connect begins at 11 a.m. that Monday morning, with the opening networking session and luncheon stretching to 11:45 a.m. followed by the legislative update and question-and-answer session until 1 p.m. Individual spots (if any seats open up prior to the event) are $25 per person.

For more information, contact the chamber at 903-984-5022.


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