Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be the keynote speaker at the Arkansas Trucking Association's annual conference Tuesday.
The conference begins Monday at the Hammons Center in Rogers and continues through Tuesday. Other scheduled speakers include state Secretary of Health Dr. José Romero and Rebecca Brewster, president and COO of American Transportation Research Institute.
ATA President Shannon Newton said the organization was able to book Sanders as a speaker earlier this year after she left the White House. Sanders isn't associated with the trucking industry, but Newton said her anecdotes and stories about working for President Donald Trump would be welcomed.
"The president is popular in our industry," Newton said.
Romero's speech will be good information on public health during the pandemic, Newton said. Romero is scheduled to speak at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday while Sanders will speak at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Sanders is considered a likely candidate for the 2022 Republican gubernatorial nomination in Arkansas. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, both Republicans, have said they're running.
The ATA will have added safety protocols for the conference, the most visible of which may be color-coded wristbands for attendees. Newton said she got the idea from her counterpart in Georgia after its conference: the colors green, yellow and red will symbolize the wearer’s comfort level with social interaction.
"I'm pretty green; I'm a hugger," Newton said laughing.
The main room of the conference will have individual 6-foot tables for each attendee rather than before when three were seated to a table. Masks will be provided and required to be worn and hand sanitizing stations will be prevalent.
Newton said the conference usually attracts about 300 industry executives but she expects a turnout of half of that this year.
"We represent an essential industry that continues to work," Newton said. "The association has work to do, and we're going to try to convene safely."