Hli Xyooj (left), co-chair of 18th Hmong National Development Conference, and Bao Vang, president and chief executive of Hmong National Development, are in Milwaukee to run the conference, which is to be attended by 1,000 people.(Photo: Bill Glauber)

More than 1,000 people from at least 20 states are expected in Milwaukee for the 18th Hmong National Development Conference.

The three-day gathering, which begins Friday at the Hyatt Regency, will focus on key issues facing the Hmong community. Several prominent Hmong leaders and elected officials will be highlighted, including Kashoua "Kristy" Yang, who won a judicial race for Milwaukee County Circuit Court.

Yang will participate in Saturday's panel on politics, power and influence. The panel's keynote speaker is Elk Grove, Calif., Mayor Steve Ly, the first mayor of Hmong descent in the nation.

The biannual event was last held in Wisconsin in 2009.

"We are a policy organization," said Bao Vang, president and chief executive of Hmong National Development.