Lexington will host the 70th annual Southern Legislative Conference in 2016, legislative and city leaders announced Tuesday.
The event, July 16 to 20, will bring 1,500 state lawmakers and policy experts from 15 states to Kentucky's second-largest city and will pump an estimated $2 million into the local economy, said state Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester.
Stivers, who is chairman-elect of the Southern Legislative Conference, helped recruit the conference to Lexington.
The last time the Southern Legislative Conference was in Kentucky was 2006. The last time the annual meeting was in Lexington was 1988, Stivers said during a news conference Tuesday at VisitLex, the city's convention and visitors bureau.
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Stivers said the conference will showcase Lexington and the entire state.
"The SLC 2016 conference will give Lexington and the rest of Kentucky an opportunity to show state leaders from across the South as well as business leaders from across the nation that Kentucky is a great place to live, work and do business," Stivers said.
Mayor Jim Gray said being selected as a host city shows that "Lexington is on the move."
When asked whether the conference will cost taxpayers money, Stivers said officials hope to offset costs with private fundraising and sponsorships.
The Southern Legislative Conference is a nonprofit based in Atlanta. It operates under the auspices of the Council of State Governments.