National Conference of State Legislatures 2019 Legislative Summit

Published August 8, 2019 / Last Updated August 9, 2019

Dolly addresses over 4,000 US lawmakers and legislative leaders at the annual conference

Dolly Parton appeared as a keynote speaker at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) 2019 Legislative Summit, held August 5-8 in Nashville, TN. The annual bipartisan conference aims to provide states “support, ideas, connections and a strong voice on Capitol Hill,” and Dolly took the stage to talk about literacy and her Imagination Library program.

During a Q&A segment with Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Dolly shared how her father’s inability to read or write inspired her to launch the Imagination Library, which mails one free book each month to children from birth to age five in participating communities. What started in 1995 as a program in her hometown of Sevier County, TN, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library now spans five countries and mails over 1.4 million free books each month to children around the world.

The Imagination Library relies on local partners to secure funding for the program, and in 2004, the state of Tennessee became the first to pass legislation supporting a statewide rollout of the program. During their on-stage discussion, Gov. Lee emphasized the scientifically-proven benefits of reading to your child, while Dolly encouraged all of the legislative leaders in attendance to adopt the Imagination Library as a statewide program so that “all children in our country will have access to books.”

 “We’d like all the states to go statewide with it,” she said. “It’s not just for poor kids, but for all kids, for every child who signs up.”

Representing the Tennessee General Assembly, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and House Speaker-select Cameron Sexton appeared on stage to present Dolly with a $25,000 check for her Dollywood Foundation, which funds the Imagination Library.

Dolly concluded her appearance with a touching performance of “Coat of Many Colors” and brought the entire audience to their feet with an inspiring rendition of “Try,” a song she wrote to celebrate her Imagination Library. Dolly left all of the conference attendees with a message of inspiration, encouraging them all to follow their dreams, to respect and love all of God’s children and to take any opportunity to work together.

Pictured Above: Dolly Parton, Toi Hutchinson (Illinois, Legislator)

Photo Credit: Kayla Schoen

Michelle Vos, Dolly Parton, Robin Vos (Wisconsin, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Scott Saiki (Hawaii, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Curtis Bramble (Utah, Legislator)
Tomee Heining, Dolly Parton, Jon Heining (Texas, Legislative Staff)
Dolly Parton, Martha Wigton (Georgia, Legislative Staff)
Dolly Parton, Chuck Truesdell (Kentucky, Legislative Staff)
Dolly Parton, Jim Hendren (Arkansas, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Matthew J. Shepherd (Arkansas, Legislator)
Matthew Moonen (Maine, Legislator), Dolly Parton, Jeremy Kennedy
Dolly Parton, Matt Huffman (Ohio, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Ronald Kouchi (Hawaii, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Nicole Jefferson (Amazon)
Dolly Parton, Mike Bell (Tennessee, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Bill Powers (Tennessee, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Ken Yager (Tennessee, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Art Swann (Tennessee, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Jeff Yarbro (Tennessee, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Dolores Gresham (Tennessee, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, William Lamberth (Tennessee, Legislator)
Bo Watson (Tennessee, Legislator), Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton, Patsy Hazlewood (Tennessee, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Mary Littleton (Tennessee, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Mike Carter (Tennessee, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Jack Johnson (Tennessee, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Lowell Russel (Tennessee, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Scott W. Gilmer (Tennessee, Legislative Staff)
Cameron Sexton (Tennessee, Legislator), Dolly Parton
David Dotson (CEO, Dollywood Foundation), Dolly Parton, Nora Briggs (Executive Director, North America, Dollywood Foundation), Jeff Conyers (President, Dollywood Foundation)


Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton. Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons Creative Director - Sarah Chapman

Team DollyNational Conference of State Legislatures 2019 Legislative Summit