February 25, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University is set to host the sixth biennial Lone Star Legislative Summit March 2-3, which will bring more than 20 state lawmakers to SFA’s campus to discuss pressing and relevant statewide issues.
“The Lone Star Legislative Summit is an amazing showcase for the university,” said Dr. Adam Peck, SFA dean of student affairs and member of the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs Committee. “It exposes law and policy makers to our beautiful campus, our expert faculty members and the community in which we reside. Additionally, the event is frequently attended by students who benefit tremendously from the insights of the speakers, moderators and panelists.”
Fittingly, the summit also will coincide with the Nacogdoches Tricentennial Celebration.
“I see this year’s LSLS, which is part of the Nacogdoches Tricentennial Celebration, as a way to promote our city, our heritage and SFA, and show the rest of the state our city's vibrancy,” said Dr. Scott Sosebee, associate professor of history at SFA and a summit moderator. “Also, I like this summit's sessions. It is truly a 21st-century agenda, one that looks to the future of the state and how we can solve some of our problems, and highlight why Texas is — and should be — a leader for the rest of the nation as we move further into the 21st century.”
The two-day summit will begin with a kick-off reception at 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, at Austin Hall, 4603 North St. The first of five sessions will begin at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, March 3, in the SFA Baker Pattillo Student Center Grand Ballroom following a 7:15 a.m. breakfast. Ticket prices vary and can be purchased at the Chamber, 2516 North St.
Topics to be discussed include diversity and race in Texas, the Nacogdoches tricentennial, state health care and education, and Texas music. Glenn Hegar, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, also will give a report on the Texas economy. Dr. Steve Bullard, SFA interim provost, will serve as moderator for the second session, titled “Educating 21st Century Texans: Remembering the Alamo and shooting for the stars.”
“The summit is a wonderful opportunity to show the world (and the rest of Texas) that East Texas not only respects and values the 300-year history of the settlement of Nacogdoches and the great natural beauty of its waterways and forests, but also is fully committed to the future of East Texas citizens through economic growth, health care, education, and conservation of our natural resources,” said Brad Maule, SFA theater lecturer and a summit moderator.
“We also like to have fun here, and that's where I hopefully can be of help. East Texas is filled with music — the sweet sound of guitars in the night air around a campfire, gospel groups in one of our many churches, the western swing and country twang of dance halls, all the way to the celebration of life in weddings and funerals — music is everywhere you turn in Nacogdoches. I hope to share a little bit of the long history of music here, the different kinds and the origins of our music.”
Summit topics are selected by the Legislative Affairs Committee in consultation with summit hosts, State Rep. Travis Clardy and State Sen. Robert Nichols, Peck said. Selected topics are based on what organizers believe will be particularly important in the coming legislative session and that have relevance for the city and region.
Sosebee said the primary goal of the session he will moderate, “Diversity and Race in Texas: Who were we, who are we, and who do we want to be?” is to discuss Texas’ increasingly diversifying population.
“We may not realize that we are the home of the most diverse city in the United States (Houston), and our state contains sizable populations of various ethnic groups as well as races,” he said. “Important to me as a historian is how we use the past to explain the present and future. What we must learn to do is have a historical narrative that contains a ‘usable past,’ or one that all Texans can relate to. For far too long we have relied on a narrative that concentrated on the 19th century, Texas as a frontier state and how the predominant Anglo population dominated the institutions.
“We are more than a 100 years removed from Texas as a place that was rural and emerging, with an immature economy. Yet, in many ways, the story we tell only relates to that reality. We are, in 2016, an urban state, one that is diverse, a leader in technology and an economic giant. I think that most Texans of 2016 do not relate to the old tales of ‘gun smoke and cows’ and would welcome a story that stresses how we became the state we are today.”
For information about the summit, visit www.travisfortexas.net/lsls2016.