As legislators are gearing up for a new season in Jefferson City, so too are the citizens of Northwest Missouri. Over the past few months, the Great Northwest Day at the Capitol Steering Committee gathered and prioritized legislative issues for the region’s annual visit to the state capitol city on Feb 6-7.

As legislators are gearing up for a new season in Jefferson City, so too are the citizens of Northwest Missouri. Over the past few months, the Great Northwest Day at the Capitol Steering Committee gathered and prioritized legislative issues for the region’s annual visit to the state capitol city on Feb 6-7. At this event, approximately 350 people from the 18-county region will visit Jefferson City to make their regional voice heard in a single, cohesive message, according to Crystal Narr, coordinator for Livingston County. Great Northwest Day’s legislative platform for the upcoming event, Narr stated, highlights a theme of Growing the Missouri of the Future, and includes the following priorities: 911 Funding, Broadband, Transportation, Education. The criteria for reviewing regional issues included legislative impact, overarching regional impact, non-partisan perspective and timeliness of concern. Regional planning and advocacy groups, such as the Transportation Advisory Committees, Solid Waste Districts, Area Agency on Aging, Missouri Association of Counties and others were asked to identify and submit issues that may impact the entire region. Those issues were then regionally defined and reviewed by the Great Northwest Day steering committee for additional input before being established as the official priorities for the event. The four priorities will be monitored as Great Northwest Day nears, and the message to legislators will be further refined during that time. The featured luncheon speaker on Tuesday, will be Dan Lennon, director of the Missouri Department of Tourism. Lennon has more than 25 years of tourism marketing and brand management experience in both the private and public sectors in Missouri. From 2003-2013, Lennon served as vice president of marketing and public relations for the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau. A member of the singing Lennon Family and featured vocalist at the Welk Champagne Theatre in Branson, he also served as director of marketing for the Welk Resort from 1994 until 2002. Lennon will talk about the impact of tourism in Northwest Missouri and how communities can utilize tourism as an economic development tool. Great Northwest Days will close Wednesday morning with a breakfast and guest speaker, Andrew McCrea. McCrea is a farmer and rancher, an award-winning radio and TV broadcaster and a nationally recognized speaker. He is the host of a nationally-broadcast radio feature, “The American Countryside,” a program that has won five Oscars for rural and agricultural broadcasting. He has interviewed hall of fame sports stars, Emmy and Grammy winners and even been body slammed by professional wrestlers. His broadcasting work has taken him to all 50 states and six continents to interview thousands of guests for his program. “The American Countryside” is unique in broadcasting because all of the interviews are done “on location.” His broadcasts are heard daily on nearly 100 radio stations and Sirius XM satellite radio. The TV version of the show is a regular feature on U.S. Farm Report. He continues to own and manage the farm and ranch where he was born and raised. He remains active in many groups, both as a participant and as a frequent speaker. He and his family reside near Maysville, Mo., where they are the fifth and sixth generations to operate the family farm. Great Northwest Days at the Capitol is an annual legislative event that includes introduction on the Missouri House and Senate floors, time with legislators, an educational luncheon, and an evening event inviting all of Missouri’s legislators and department heads to meet with citizens from the Northwest Missouri region. For more information on the event or how you can attend, contact the Livingston County Coordinator, Crystal Narr of the Chillicothe Area Chamber or visit the website at http://www.greatnorthwestday.com/.