Carolyn Caine
Institute for Policy & Social Research

Kansas Economic Policy Conference to explore policies for economic resilience

Wed, 10/19/2022

Barn in Fredonia, Kansas.

LAWRENCE — The 2022 Kansas Economic Policy Conference will explore “Building a Resilient Kansas Economy.” Taking place Oct. 27 at the Burge Union on the University of Kansas Lawrence campus with a livestream option, the conference brings together community leaders, policymakers and subject matter experts to consider timely and relevant questions.

“This year’s conference focuses on economic resilience,” said Donna Ginther, director of the Institute for Policy & Social Research, the conference organizer. “Now that we’re moving past the pandemic, as a state our focus should shift to making investments that position us for growth and prosperity in the next decade. The conference is designed to highlight the challenges and opportunities facing the state as we build a resilient Kansas economy.”

Following the economic and social shocks brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the wake of increasingly frequent natural disasters such as the ongoing drought, communities are adjusting to new conditions and planning for an uncertain future. Some Kansas communities have responded to change with innovative and effective initiatives to build diverse, resilient local economies.

In light of these challenges, the conference will feature speakers close to these communities and these changes. During morning keynote speeches, Ginther, who is also KU’s Roy A. Roberts and Regents Distinguished Professor of Economics, will outline the current state of the state economy. Julie Lorenz, Kansas secretary of transportation, will discuss investments in infrastructure that will serve the state into the future.

One morning conversation will feature a discussion of local perspectives on economic resilience. Trisha Purdon, director of the Office of Rural Prosperity for the Kansas Department of Commerce; Lisse Regehr, president and CEO of Thrive Allen County; and Ernestor De La Rosa, assistant city manager/legislative affairs for the city of Dodge City, will share strategies from their work. A second morning conversation will address industry and infrastructure for a resilient Kansas. That conversation will include Jade Piros de Carvalho, director of the Kansas Office of Broadband Development and mayor of Hutchinson; Josh Svaty, owner and operator of Free State Farms; and Belinda Sturm, Ross McKinney Faculty Fellow, professor of civil, environmental & architectural engineering, and principal investigator of the NSF EPSCoR-funded ARISE project.

In the afternoon, state legislators will address policy for a resilient Kansas. That conversation will feature:

  • State Sen. Dinah Sykes, Kansas District 21
  • State Rep. Jim Kelly, Kansas District 11
  • State Rep. Rui Xu, House District 25
  • State Rep. Dave Baker, House District 68

Jim McLean of the Kansas News Service and Deb Miller of the KU Public Management Center will moderate the conversations.

Registration for in-person or online attendance is available through the conference website. KU’s Institute for Policy & Social Research is organizing the event. All attendees are welcome. Contact with questions or information about accommodations.

Image: Barn in a field in Fredonia.

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