Last Friday, the lieutenant governor’s office visited Branson to continue our goal of recognizing and promoting Missouri. Branson is one of our state’s premier touring destinations. The area is home to quality entertainment and tourist attractions, a thriving economy, and thousands of our country’s veterans. I take pride in calling Branson part of our state. Our visit was productive, as we visited several organizations and businesses and gave us an excellent start on how we can help promote the Branson community.

Branson Chamber of Commerce: One of our state’s thriving chambers, it has 1,015 members across a wide variety of businesses. The chamber is very active in promoting economic development and tourism, and providing support to new businesses. The chamber gives members the opportunity to participate in committees, legislative advocacy, events for young professionals, advertising opportunities, and monthly networking events.

Ballparks of America: This organization is already a great addition to the Branson area. The goal of this multi-million dollar project is simple – allow kids to experience the joy of baseball. They offer participants a chance to play on 2/3-size replicas of five iconic stadiums, with plans to build seven more, spanning the history of baseball. They are one of the only “stay-and-play” facilities in the country, so up to 700 kids can experience a week rooming with their teammates at a MLB-style team suite complete with laundry and food services. Ballparks of America is already attracting international attention, with teams scheduled to come to Branson from around the world. The economic impact for the Branson community will be tremendous, with hundreds of families travelling to Branson annually, and taking advantage of the many tourist attractions and local businesses.

During this trip, our office was proud to host a veteran town hall meeting for the Branson area in partnership with the Veterans and Military Coalition of the Ozarks. Many veterans attended and voiced their concerns. As an advocate for our state’s veterans, we are interested in finding out what programs and services are working, not working, and how we can better serve our veterans. We are now in the process of sharing the information from this town hall with other agencies so we can work together improving veterans services.

While we learned a great deal from our visit, there is still a lot of work to do. We look forward to travelling to communities in Missouri and studying how we can advocate for our state’s companies and products and perhaps replicate their successes. The more we promote Missouri, the more our state will prosper in the future.