From the Office of State Senator Royce West - District 23

For Immediate Release

CONTACT: Kelvin Bass
(512) 463-0123
Thursday, January 15, 2004

Senator West and Senator Ellis to host
6th African American Legislative Summit

DALLAS -- Texas Senators Royce West (D-Dallas) and Rodney Ellis (D-Houston will meet in Austin beginning Thursday, February 26, 2004 for the 6th Biennial African American Legislative Summit. The Summit kicks-off this year with the "Doing Business Texas Style - Spot Bid Contract Fair," an event that has demonstrated success in matching state agencies with minority vendors from throughout the state. The Contract Fair starts at 10:00 a.m. and lasts until 5:00 p.m. at the University of Texas' Frank Erwin Center.

"Coming off two years of the worst economic conditions in recent memory, it is more important than ever that agencies representing the State of Texas be proactive in reaching out to the small businesses that are the backbone of not only this state's economy, but also that of America," said Senator West. "We're excited to have the renewal of the Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) between past participants, and are anticipating other agencies to step forward in the effort to improve their relationships with Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs)."

The renewal of the MOC with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and the University of Texas will take place during the Spot Bid Contract Fair. This initiative, created to enhance procurement opportunities between agencies and minority-owned businesses was developed through the work of the Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce (TAAACC) and the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC).

The Summit continues through Saturday, February 28th. Registration will take place Thursday from 5:30 p.m - 8:00 p.m at the Austin Capitol Marriott located at 701 E. 11th St downtown. Friday events begin with a morning Plenary Session in the Capitol Extension Auditorium followed by concurrent panels and braintrust sessions where topical and controversial issues facing Texas will be discussed with legislators and expert panelists. The theme for this year's African American Legislative Summit is "The Balancing Act: Government and Politics vs. Community and Culture."

"The Legislative Summit is a tremendous opportunity for people to get involved in their government," said Senator Ellis. "With the major changes in state law coming out of the 2003 Legislative Session, it is critical that we enter this political year armed with the most current information available. I hope that as many people as possible take advantage of this unique opportunity to come to Austin and learn about the issues that effect their lives."

Texas Southern University will host a Friday evening reception and Saturday's activities will include nationally known speakers in addition to a second day of panel discussions. An estimated 1,000 people attended the three-day event in 2002.

For more information, please contact Kelvin Bass at 214-467-0123.