SOURCE: Southern Governors' Association

Southern Governors' Association

August 11, 2014 17:05 ET

America's Southern Governors to Convene for Annual Meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas

Lab to Market: Accelerating the American South's R&D Network and Exploring the "Private Option" and Health Care Transformation Are Main Topics for Discussion

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - Aug 11, 2014) - Governors from 16 states and two US territories have been invited to gather in Little Rock, Arkansas, August 14 -17, for the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Southern Governors' Association (SGA). Their main focus will be the region's research and development profile as it relates to jobs, education and economic development and Arkansas's private-option approach to expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Each year, SGA brings together its bipartisan group of governors and representatives from the region's business and academic communities to discuss shared issues, best practices and explore innovative solutions to improve the quality of life and secure an economically vibrant and prosperous American South.

"At this year's conference, Southern governors will focus on various aspects of research and development occurring in the American South, the potential impact of those technological developments, and ways that we, as governors, can support continued growth of R&D activities that affect our economic-development priorities," SGA Chairman and Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe said. "While our region's R&D profile is impressive, it is not as well-known as those in other areas of the nation. As Southern governors, we look forward to changing that."


On August 14, SGA will conduct an Issue Forum, The Role of Higher and Postsecondary Education in Shaping Our Future, offering a deeper policy discussion of issues surrounding higher education and its connection to achieving the R&D and economic-development priorities of Southern governors. Participating experts include representatives from state governments, universities and community colleges, workforce organizations, the manufacturing sector and nonprofits.

The meeting officially begins on August 15 with a panel discussion, Creating Communities of Innovation that explores strategies to driving healthy economic growth by connecting various players involved in bringing ideas to commercial markets and creating communities of innovation throughout the Southern region.

August 16 begins with a working business session entitled Arkansas's Experience with the "Private Option" and Health Care Transformation. Governor Beebe and other Arkansas officials, as well as several of the state's private-sector partner agencies, will offer an up-close look at the Arkansas experience to date. Following that session, the group will explore R&D Impacts on Healthcare and discuss critical initiatives aimed at identifying effective treatments and cures for some of the biggest -- and costliest -- health challenges facing Southerners and all Americans. Given that the American South is the nation's largest energy-producing region, the luncheon address is Natural Gas Leveraged Economic Development in the American South. Following the luncheon, afternoon business sessions include the following:

  • How Big Data Is Transforming Our World - discussing approaches to big data that the public and private sectors can use to increase business opportunities and improve efficiencies, while minimizing the risks of using this resource;
  • Entrepreneurship and Access to Capital - discussing ways to cultivate venture capital opportunities and foster entrepreneurship through recent developments that can potentially change the dynamics for increasing the economies of Southern states.

The meeting concludes August 17 with a business session, Connecting Science to State Policy Making. Discussions will explore the various approaches governors take in incorporating science into their policy process, recognizing that science considerations are closely linked to economic-development objectives in advanced technology and manufacturing sectors.

Incoming Chairman, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, will succeed Governor Beebe at the end of the meeting.

Documents and/or Photos available for this release:

Southern Governors Gather in Little Rock

To view supporting documents and/or photos, go to and enter Release ID: 376597

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Charlotte Cole
    Director, Communications
    Southern Governors
    Phone: 703.474.0633