Brownback Remains MGA Chair to Focus on Reducing Poverty through Mentoring Introduces Smartland Discussion Series: First Effort – Truck Driver Shortage

Washington, DC – A bipartisan group of Midwestern governors is proud to announce that Kansas Governor Sam
Brownback has been named as Chairman of the Midwestern Governors Association (MGA). The focus of the Chair’s
Agenda will remain on poverty and, specifically, on reducing poverty through mentoring. Gov. Brownback is also
introducing the America’s Smartland Discussion Series.
“After we successfully dove into the broader poverty discussions during my 2015 term as chair, I am honored that my
colleagues have selected me as the MGA Chair for a second term, and I look forward to digging deeper into an issue that
is near and dear to my heart: mentoring individuals out of poverty,” Governor Brownback said. “I am excited to work
with my fellow Midwestern governors on this important issue.”
In 2015, under the Chair’s Agenda, multiple conference calls and a poverty summit in Kansas City were held. In 2016
states and partners will focus primarily on mentoring individuals out of poverty. Another summit will be organized for
later in the year.
During Governor Brownback’s first term, the MGA also conducted state surveys and met with state staff to learn more
about specific regional concerns and needs. The shortage of truck drivers was consistently brought up by states as a large
concern for the manufacturing-heavy region. Hearing this feedback, Gov. Brownback, along with the MGA, developed
the America’s Smartland Discussion Series, launching today.
“There is clearly a need for fresh solutions to mitigate the truck driver shortage plaguing the Midwest, and I’m hopeful
that our new Smartland Discussion Series will help unite government, industry, and other partners in finding meaningful
solutions to literally get the big wheels rolling,” Governor Brownback said.
“Midwesterners are known for their work ethic, independent spirit, and practical approaches to problem solving and those
are just a few of the reasons our region is America’s Smartland,” said MGA executive director Jesse Heier. “By
addressing poverty and the truck driver shortage in 2016, the MGA will continue to look for commonsense Midwestern
solutions to these issues.”
The Smartland Discussion Series is aimed at bringing together government staff, relevant stakeholders, and policy experts
for a day-long meeting to discuss a pressing issue in the region, share experiences, and brainstorm potential next steps and
solutions. The MGA intends to host several Smartland Discussions each year on significant regional topics.