LAC by the Numbers ■ A record-setting 900 + school nutrition professionals, allies and partners attended the 40th annual Legislative Action Conference, March 4-7, 2012. This included 106 first-timers and 12 SNA past presidents, who continue to work as inspirational advocates for school nutrition. Also in attendance were 266 industry members (representing some 135 companies). ■ LAC attendees represented more than 345 school districts, serving a collective enrollment of 8.1 million students. ■ The timely and informative program was planned by SNA’s Public Policy & Legislation Committee, chaired by Cindy Brooks. Speakers included 1 political pundit (Charlie Cook, editor and publisher of The Cook Political Report), 4 USDA officials (Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services and Past SNA President Janey Thornton, PhD, SNS, and Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services staff members Laura Castro, Cindy Long and Melissa Rothstein); 2 Former Secretaries of Agriculture (John Block and Dan Glickman) and 1 Former Deputy Secretary of Agriculture (Charles Conner)—and countless laughs from the Capitol Steps (a political satire troupe). ■ Onsite during LAC, SNA’s Political Action Committee, chaired by Sara Gasiorowski, SNS, raised more than $6,000. These funds are used by SNA’s legislative team to attend important congressional fundraisers and gain access to key lawmakers. ■ The 9th annual “A Possible Dream” Gala fundraiser, supporting the initiatives of SNA’s Global Child Nutrition Foundation (GCNF), honored 3 outstanding individuals (see page 38), while more than 500 attendees dined and mingled at the event. Ticket sales, plus the contributions of 33 sponsors, combined to raise $365,000 for GCNF. ■ For the second year in a row, select school nutrition operators had the opportunity to attend an Executive Management Seminar at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. Some 68 participants learned valuable management strategies during the 2-day program, made possible by the generous support of 4 companies: Kellogg’s Food Away From Home, Schwan’s Food Service, Inc., SFSPac Food Service Sanitation Systems and Tyson Foods, Inc. ■ The topic on everyone’s mind was, of course, the new meal pattern regulations. The final rule, 280 printed pages, was 7 years in the making and received 133,268 comments during a 90-day comment period. The 4 aforementioned speakers from USDA spoke about the 2 stages of the new regulations: the new meal pattern and additional guidance for implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Attendees also focused on the 5 points of this year’s Legislative Issue Paper. [Editors’ Note: For the complete text, see the “Washington Watch” column in the March 2012 issue.] “Food and agriculture are among the few issues that have brought Democrats and Republicans together.”—Dan Glickman “This Issue Paper will get attention, because people don’t actually come to D.C. to lobby for things that don’t cost money.”—Marshall Matz “I am a big fan of watching the independents, as they are really the ones who decide elections.”—Charlie Cook “For all the policy wonks in Washington, God bless them, you are the ones who are working in the real world.”— Marshall Matz “Many of you don’t get the ‘thank-yous’ you deserve.” —Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.)
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