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Wednesday evening, a coalition of seventeen groups from Southwest Missouri treated state lawmakers to food and drinks at the annual Springfield/Branson Regional Salute to Missouri Legislators. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.
The music flowed, along with the drinks as lawmakers chatted with representatives from seventeen Southwest Missouri organizations, including Springfield Public Schools, Missouri State University, the cities of Branson, Hollister and Springfield and the counties of Taney and Greene.
Greene County Commissioner Roseann Bentley, a former state senator, says the event is an important one because it helps lawmakers from around the state get acquainted with Southwest Missouri.
Springfield Republican Bob Dixon says as a state representative, he's pleased that so many diverse groups come together to give lawmakers a reception.
He says it helps educate his colleagues from other parts of the state.
At least one of Bob Dixon's colleagues agrees that Southwest Missouri has a lot to offer.
Representative Wes Wagner's legislative district is not near Southwest Missouri.
Even with his close proximity to St Louis shopping and dining, Wagner says he often takes trips to Southwest Missouri.
The seventeen groups that come together for the Salute and smaller monthly events also have a common legislative agenda.
Part of that agenda includes advocating for more tourism, education and transportation funding.
Springfield Mayor Tom Carlson says it's beneficial to all the groups that are involved to present common goals to lawmakers.
Also on the coalition's agenda is limiting gambling licenses and protecting the environment.