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2023 Advocacy Summit

March 2, 9:00 - 3:00

General Information

Meet & Greets

You can request a personal Meet and Greet time with your legislators during the afternoon. AIA Kansas will coordinate the meeting(s), provide background information and speaking points, and can accompany you to your appointment.

2 CEUs

Two learning credits are pending, including HSW credits. 


1:15 PM - Dome Tour (meet on 5th floor)
2:00 PM - Historic Statehouse Tour (meet at visitors' center desk on ground floor)
The 2023 AIA Kansas Advocacy Summit will take place on Thursday, March 2, 9 am - 3 pm at the Statehouse and via Webex. Speakers from the national and state levels will be presenting during the conference on current policy conversations and how architects can get involved with the issues that affect them most.

This year, it is critical that our profession stays engaged with the legislative session as important issues are being discussed at the statehouse regularly. Licensure deregulation, the ongoing water crisis, and economic development and infrastructure incentives remain hot policy topics. We need your help to communicate our positions and be a voice for our profession.


9:00 - 9:30 AM: Terry Humphrey, AIA Kansas Executive Director, will provide opening remarks and a brief overview of AIA Kansas's activities at the statehouse this session.

9:30 - 10:00 AM: Sarah Dodge, Senior Vice President of Advocacy, and Kara Kempski, Director of Federal Relations, will present on AIA's federal advocacy efforts, highlighting two key bills that AIA is prioritizing this year.
10:15 - 10:45 AM: Vanessa Lamoreaux, KDOT, will provide an overview of Kansas's administration of funding opportunities through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, focusing on key opportunities for architects.

11:00 - 12:00 PM
: Connie Owen, Executive Director of the Kansas Water Office, and Earl Lewis, Chief Engineer for the Division of Water Resources in the Kansas Department of Agriculture, will discuss the critical status of Kansas's water crisis, what architects need to know professionally, and current legislation that is advancing to help address the problems.

12:00 - 3:00PM - Lunch, Tours, and Legislator Appointments
Vanessa Lamoreaux


Vanessa Lamoreaux (lam-a-row) serves as an interim Senior Director with the Kansas Department of Transportation. In her role, she provides leadership over the areas of Government Affairs, Communications, Public Involvement, Performance Management, and Safety. She also serves as the coordinator within KDOT for opportunities associated with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and serves as the coordinator for the Kansas Infrastructure Hub. Vanessa is a KU graduate and has a career in public information, marketing, communications, and community engagement in both the public and private sectors.

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Kara Kempski is the Director of Federal Relations at the American Institute of Architects (AIA). She directs the organization’s lobbying efforts before Congress and the Administration. As part of that work, Kara leads the federal policy analysis on issues important to the profession of architecture. This includes climate action, resilient infrastructure, affordable housing, economic recovery, and education. Kara works closely with colleagues to coordinate AIA’s outreach to federal policy-focused coalitions and industry groups. She also collaborates with colleagues to engage AIA members directly in federal advocacy through grassroots activations.

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Sarah Dodge is the Senior Vice President of Advocacy for AIA National. Her department within AIA leads member engagement programs to support AIA members in legislative and political advocacy initiatives. Her department is also responsible for advancing AIA’s federal policy agenda. She has served in this role for three years and is an expert on the impact of federal policy on architects and how to understand, navigate, and advocate at the national level.

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Connie Owen is a licensed attorney and has practiced Kansas water law for more than 25 years. She has served as Director of the Kansas Water Office (KWO) since early 2021. The Kansas Water Office was established in 1981 as the water planning, policy, coordination, and water marketing agency for the state. The primary statutory function of the agency is the development and implementation of the Kansas Water Plan, which was most recently updated in August 2022. The Kansas Water Office also carries out a Public Water Supply Program, involving contracts with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers for storage in federal reservoirs and contracts with municipalities, industries, and others for public water supply out of that storage. The KWO's duties also encompass the Kansas Water Authority, an advisory board primarily comprised of Governor's appointees, whose duties include approving the Kansas Water Plan and making recommendations to the Governor and Legislature regarding water policies and funding priorities for implementing the Kansas Water Plan. Prior to this current position, Ms. Owen served as Chair of the Kansas Water Authority and as an administrative hearing officer for the Division of Water Resources (Kansas Dept. of Agriculture). 

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Earl Lewis has dedicated his career to water resources in Kansas. He began his career at DWR in the early 1990s, where he worked on various issues ranging from management and compliance of water rights to interstate litigation. Earl then worked for the Kansas Water Office, beginning in 1999, then as KWO Director since 2018. He oversaw the Kansas water planning efforts and management of the state’s reservoir storage system. He also served on the Water Vision Team, developing the Long-Term Vision for the Future of Water Supply in Kansas.

The Chief Engineer and the Division administer 30 laws and responsibilities, including the Kansas Water Appropriation Act which governs how water is allocated and used. The Chief Engineer also oversees policies related to these laws, conducts hearings related to groundwater areas across the state, and represents Kansas in interstate water matters.

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