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Ledbetter elected chair of Southern Legislative Conference committee

House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter on Friday was elected to chair the Economic Development, Transportation &; Cultural Affairs Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference

State Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter at a press conference with Gov. Kay Ivey and then-Health Commissioner Lynn Beshear in October 2020. Governor's Office/Hal Yeager

Alabama House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter, R-Rainsville, on Friday was elected to chair the Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference.

“It is an honor to be elected chair of the Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference,” said Ledbetter. “As the next officer of the committee, I will continue the great work of the previous chair to address the challenges and opportunities facing policymakers across the South.”

The mission of the SLC is to promote and strengthen intergovernmental cooperation among its 15 member states. As chair of the Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee, which comprises members from each of the 15 states represented by the SLC, Ledbetter will guide the committee’s policy focus and projects. He also will serve as an ex-officio member of the SLC Executive Committee.

Recent policy issues addressed by the committee include the economic impact of the American Rescue Plan on Southern states, utilizing workshare programs during economic downturns, leveraging Opportunity Zones for economic development, and unemployment amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ledbetter’s election as chair follows his successful tenure of two terms as the committee vice chair, a role now held by Tennessee Senator Becky Duncan Massey (Knoxville).

The Southern Legislative Conference was established in 1947 as the Southern Office of The Council of State Governments’ legislative association. The Southern Legislative Conference is a member-driven organization and serves as the premier public policy forum for Southern state legislatures. The 15 states comprising the SLC include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

Ledbetter along with House Ways and Means General Fund Committee Chairman Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa, have all put their names forward as contenders seeking to be the next speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives. Current Speaker Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, has announced that he will not seek another term.

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Speaker of the House is one of the three most powerful positions in Alabama government, along with governor and Senate president pro tem. McCutcheon has been speaker since 2016. Republicans presently hold a commanding supermajority in the Alabama House of Representatives.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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