WASHINGTON, DC — September 22, 2003 — To address key policy issues such as permanent death tax repeal, the country of origin labeling law and prescription drug benefits, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) will hold the 2003 Public Policy Conference, October 15-17 in Washington, DC.

Held in conjunction with the annual FMI Board meeting, the conference will feature high-level briefings from leaders in Congress and the White House, including Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and the Agriculture Committee chairs of both chambers, Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).

“With one or two votes likely to decide the outcome of any important legislation this year, the Public Policy Conference is the perfect opportunity for FMI members to shape and influence important industry issues,” said FMI President and CEO Tim Hammonds. “The conference also provides a forum for the food retail and wholesale industry, with the help of state grocer and retail associations across the nation, to further its grassroots initiatives with key policymakers.”

Hastert will open the event with a mid-term look at the current legislative landscape and the issues important to the food industry. Issue briefings by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) and other members of Congress will follow. The morning briefings will be complemented by afternoon appointments between conference participants and their congressional delegations.

The final day will focus on the Administration with briefings at the Old Executive Office Building. Cabinet secretaries and other senior officials, including Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Mark B. McClellan and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, have been invited to participate.
Special events, including lunch at the Capitol Hill Club and a Congressional reception in the Cannon Caucus Room, round out the program.

Conference attendees will include the FMI Board of Directors, FMI’s Government Relations and Legal Affairs Committees, state association executives and representatives of FMI’s Food Protection, Consumer Affairs, Pharmacy and Loss Prevention Committees.
For more information about the 2003 Public Policy Conference, contact Latitia Gaines (202-220-0620, lgaines@fmi.org) or visit www.fmi.org/events/.