National Restaurant Association Announces Former White House Press Secretaries to Address 2007 Public Affairs Conference

Washington, DC – The National Restaurant Association today announced two of the highlighted speakers for the National Restaurant Association’s Public Affairs Conference to be held September 25-26, 2007 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.  Ari Fleischer, the primary spokesperson for President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2003 will address the crowd, followed by Mike McCurry, the press secretary for President Bill Clinton from 1995 to 1998.  Following their remarks, Fleischer and McCurry will take questions from the anticipated crowd of more than 700 restaurateurs.   

“The National Restaurant Association continues to be at the forefront of debates about key public policy issues that affect restaurant operators, and the 2007 Public Affairs Conference will provide an open dialogue with lawmakers and opinion leaders to represent the industry and promote our pro-employee/pro-employer policy agenda,” said Peter Kilgore, acting president and chief executive officer of the Association.  “We are pleased to add Mike McCurry and Ari Fleischer to the exciting agenda at this year’s conference.”

Fleisher was press secretary for President Bush during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and anthrax attacks on Washington.  He describes the incidents and other details of his years in the White House in the best-selling book, Taking Heat.  Fleisher was also the senior communications advisor and spokesman for the first Bush-Cheney presidential campaign.  Prior to that, Fleischer held various communications positions including the national spokesman and communications director for Elizabeth Dole’s presidential campaign, communications director the House Ways and Means Committee, and press secretary for New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici from 1989 to 1994.  Fleischer is currently president of Ari Fleischer Communications Inc., a company that advises corporations and sports organizations on how to handle the media.

Before serving in the White House under President Clinton, Mike McCurry was spokesman for the State Department from 1993 to 1995 and communications director for the Democratic National Committee from 1988 to 1990.  His leadership roles in several national campaigns include senior advisor to Senator John Kerry, national press secretary for the vice presidential campaign of Senator Lloyd M. Bentsen and spokesman and political strategist to the presidential campaigns of Senator John Glenn, Governor Bruce Babbitt, and Senator Bob Kerrey. 

In the private sector, McCurry was public affairs director for the ERISA Industry Committee and senior vice president of the consulting firm then known as Robinson, Lake, Leer & Montgomery.  McCurry serves on various boards and advisory councils, including Share Our Strength.  He now provides strategic communications counsel to corporate and non-profit clients as a partner at Public Strategies Washington Inc.

Restaurateurs in attendance at the 2007 Public Affairs Conference will learn about critical public policy issues and meet with members of Congress to discuss their concerns and support of key legislation impacting the restaurant industry. 

Reporters who would like to attend the conference or accompany restaurateurs on their Capitol Hill visits should pre-register by contacting the Association at (202) 973-3677 or media@dineout.org .  For more details, visit  www.restaurant.org/paconference .