Center to hold major conference on setting Agenda for Better South
More than three dozen thinkers to meet over weekend at Davidson College

NOV. 4, 2009 - More than three dozen thinkers from across the South will gather Saturday for a two-day conference to develop an "Agenda for a Better South" that seeks to inspire Southern leaders to move the region forward.

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"In our increasingly partisan and media-saturated world of small soundbites for big problems, it's often hard for elected and appointed officials, and other leaders to make serious inquiries and give thoughtful consideration to big problems facing the South," said Andy Brack, president of the Center for a Better South. "Instead, they often have to put out the fires of immediate problems rather than finding solutions for decades-old challenges.

"By crafting this new Agenda for a Better South, we will highlight for our leaders that public policy matters … and that they can make significant progress for the future by focusing on the big picture for each state."

To help the invited participants get better prepared for the conference, which opens Friday with a reception and begins Saturday morning on the campus of Davidson College in Davidson, N.C., the Center has published a 70-page Briefing Book filled with data on 55 indicators of information about each Southern state. Former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco used the Briefing Book as a foundation for an Oct. 24 commentary in

Brack said the reason for developing a written agenda was to inspire legislators and thinkers in Southern states to move forward in new ways that would help people who lived in the region - much like President John Kennedy motivated the nation to put a man on the moon in the 1960s.

"Rather than continuing to debate worn proposals, we believe Southern leaders should take a broader view to work on the real problems that ensure progress across the region - getting better jobs, improving education, bettering health care, protecting the environment and curbing multiple conditions created by generational poverty," Brack said.

The Center is expected to release proposals from the conference next week.

The Center for a Better South is a pragmatic, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to developing progressive ideas, policies and information for thinking leaders who want to make a difference in the American South.

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Center for a Better South
P.O. Box 22261
Charleston, S.C. 29413