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Reps Camper, Gilmore Join Bi-partisan Group of State Lawmakers Fighting Hunger

Press release from the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus; September 10, 2014:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Reps. Karen Camper (D-Memphis) and Brenda Gilmore (D-Nashville) joined with over 200 state leaders from around the country to help pack 32,000 meals for the Alaska Food Bank as part of the Council of State Governments’ service project during their national conference in Anchorage on August 13th.

“I was grateful for the opportunity to work with a bi-partisan group of lawmakers from Tennessee and across the country to help feed those who are hungry,” said Rep. Gilmore. “Now we need to take that same sense of bi-partisanship and caring to find policy solutions that will end hunger in Tennessee and increase access to nutritional foods for everyone.”

September is “Hunger Action Month,” a campaign designed to engage the public on issues related to hunger and nutrition in America. According to statistics provided by Feeding America, Tennessee has over 1.1 million people who are food insecure, with 368,000 of them being children. A food insecure household is one that lacks, at times, access to enough nutritious food for a healthy, active lifestyle.

“No child in the richest nation in the world should ever go to bed hungry or have to skip a meal because their families can’t afford it,” said Rep. Camper. “Every man, woman and child in America should have access to healthy, nutritious and affordable food. I hope all of my fellow Tennesseans will join in making sure we make this goal a reality.”

Those who would like to make a difference during Hunger Action Month are encouraged to contact local agencies responsible for helping to feed the hungry. People in Nashville can contact the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee (http://secondharvestmidtn.org/) while those in the Memphis area should visit the Mid-South Food Bank (http://www.midsouthfoodbank.org/) to learn more about how they can help end hunger in Tennessee.

Norris Begins Term as Chair of Council of State Governments

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; December 10, 2013:

Outlines “State Pathways to Prosperity” initiative focusing on jobs and education

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) began his term as Chairman of the Council of State Governments (CSG) this week by outlining the Chairman’s 2014 initiative, “State Pathways to Prosperity.” The initiative focuses on helping states boost their workforce development and education efforts. Addressing the organization’s Eastern Regional meeting in Puerto Rico, Norris said during his term of office, CSG will also concentrate on four related areas which often overshadow employment needs: veterans’ affairs, hunger, children in poverty and criminal justice.

“It’s difficult for our guidance counselors and local workforce development professionals to do their jobs when the folks who need work have so many related issues that need addressing first,” said Chairman Norris. “Like a mother looking for work without the resources to provide care for her children while she’s away — or the veteran with plenty of experience but no certificate or degree — or someone with a criminal record for a non-violent offense that disqualifies them from employment. CSG can provide the expertise to help states with best practices designed to clear pathways for those anxious to join America’s workforce.”

“There is significant demand right now by companies looking for qualified workers, and states are finding it difficult to meet the demand. The jobs are there, but the skills are lacking,” said Norris, who was recently appointed by Governor Haslam to the Tennessee Workforce Development Board. Norris was the prime sponsor of Tennessee’s LEAP (Labor Education Alignment Program) signed into law in April. LEAP lays the foundation for the cooperative effort of government, higher education and businesses looking for skilled workers by providing on-the-job training.

CSG represents all three branches of state government and state chief executives are fundamental to CSG’s success. Norris succeeds Senator Gary Stevens of Alaska at CSG. Senator Carl Marcellino of New York is Chair-Elect. Serving as a President of CSG with Norris as Chairman will be West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. He succeeds Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.

“As Chair, it will be my goal to keep CSG the place to be; the place to champion state government to advance the common good,” said Norris.

CSG has regional offices in New York, Chicago, Sacramento and Atlanta with headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky. Norris chaired the Southern Region in 2011 and has served on CSG’s Executive Committee since 2007.

Norris Named Chair of Council of State Gov’ts

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; Sept. 23, 2013:

(NASHVILLE) — Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, was elected Chairman of the national Council of State Governments (CSG) at the group’s 80th annual meeting this weekend in Kansas City, MO. CSG is a bipartisan professional association serving all three branches of government in 50 states and Puerto Rico. International affiliates include the Provincial and Federal governments of Canada.

Norris is the first Tennessean elected to the national leadership post.

“It is an honor to lead this organization and continue the tremendous work that it has done throughout the United States and North America,” said Norris, who will begin the new post in December. “CSG offers unparalleled regional, national and international opportunities to network, develop leaders, collaborate and create problem-solving partnerships. I look forward to working with my colleagues in finding new solutions to the many challenges we face.”

Founded in 1933, CSG champions excellence in state government. CSG’s region-based forum fosters the exchange of insights and ideas to help state officials shape public policy as states’ advocates within our federal system of government. The organization is based in Lexington, Kentucky and also has an office in Washington, D.C. It has regional offices in Atlanta, New York City, Chicago and Sacramento. Norris served as Chairman of the Southern Region in 2010-2011.

Norris is an attorney with the law firm of Adams and Reese LLP. He has served in the Tennessee Senate since 2000 and as Senate Majority Leader since 2007.

Southerland Named to CSG Energy, Environment Cmte

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey; June 5, 2013:

(June 5, 2013, NASHVILLE) – Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) today announced the appointment of Senator Steve Southerland (R-Morristown) to the Council of State Government’s (CSG) Energy and Environment Public Policy Committee. The committee brings together leaders from across the nation to address energy and environmental concerns.

“Senator Southerland has shown great leadership as chairman of our Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources committee,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “Steve has a great appreciation for Tennessee’s beautiful environment and natural resources and is committed to striking the proper balance between responsible conservation and economic growth. Steve understands how critical energy and environmental policy is to the continued economic health of our state. I’m confident he will serve Tennessee well on this committee.”

“This is a great opportunity to share ideas with leaders from across the nation,” said Senator Southerland. “I’m grateful to Lt. Governor Ramsey for the appointment.”

CSG’s Energy and Environment Policy Group tracks national conditions and emerging trends, identifies innovative and effective solutions, and transforms these solutions into viable policy positions and response projects.

The appointment starts immediately and extends through 2015.

Norris Elected to Chair Council of State Governments in 2014

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; December 6, 2012: 

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, will chair the national Council of State Governments (CSG) beginning in 2014 following his unanimous election in Austin, Texas this week.

CSG is the bipartisan professional association which is the only national organization serving all three branches of government in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. International affiliates include the Provincial and Federal governments of Canada.

Norris is the first Tennessean elected to the national leadership post.

“I am honored to assume this responsibility and look forward to continuing our work throughout the United States and North America,” said Norris, who will serve next year as Chair-elect under Senator Gary Stevens of Alaska who was also elected to serve as 2013 Chairman. “State governments face many challenges, and CSG is frequently on the front lines with solutions.”

Norris is an attorney with the law firm of Adams and Reese LLP. He has served in the Tennessee Senate since 2000 and as Senate Majority Leader since 2007.

Founded in 1933, CSG’s region-based forum fosters the exchange of insights and ideas to help state officials shape public policy. This offers unparalleled regional, national and international opportunities to network, develop leaders, collaborate and create problem-solving partnerships.

The organization is based in Lexington, Kentucky and also has an office in Washington, D.C. It has regional offices in Atlanta, New York City, Chicago and Sacramento. Norris served as Chairman of the Southern Region in 2010-2011.