MONDAY, MARCH 10
If you’re angry and frustrated over the apparent inability of Congress to move critical legislation forward you’re not alone. Many lawmakers feel the same way. Why don’t they do something about it? What’s keeping them from reaching across the aisle? How can we, as individual citizens, empower them to act? Find out the real state of affairs on Capitol Hill, and learn what you can do the help get Congress — and the nation — back on track.
Mike Melia is the Senior Broadcast Producer for the PBS NewsHour. He manages the show's script and helps determine what stories they cover on any given night. During more than 10 years with the NewsHour, Mike has held a variety of positions including Deputy Editor, Producer and Reporter, covering a wide range of topics including politics, economics and the arts. Mike has also appeared as correspondent on-air and online for the NewsHour. He lives in DC with his wife and two kids.
Christina Bellantoni is the Editor-in-Chief at Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill since 1955. She’s returning to her old stomping grounds after a two-year stint as Politics Editor at the PBS NewsHour. She joined that team in January 2012. Bellantoni came to the NewsHour after more than a year working as an associate politics editor at Roll Call, where she wrote about national politics, worked with reporters to craft enterprise projects, led the creation of a new series of freshman profiles and helped enhance the newspaper’s social media presence. A San Jose native, she graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Mass Communications in 2001. She won two national journalism awards for Best Scoop in 2001 for her story in Silicon Valley Biz Ink revealing the San Jose Sharks were up for sale. Her stories for the Palo Alto Daily News in 2002 and 2003 won several Bay Area journalism awards.
Tory Newmyer joined FORTUNE in August 2010, where he reports on the intersection of business and government. For the past five years he worked with Roll Call, covering lobbying, campaign finance, ethics and the major personalities and debates driving Congress. Most recently at Roll Call, he was a staff writer covering the House of Representatives, reporting on Democratic efforts over the past two years to pass the most ambitious legislative agenda in a generation, including the stimulus bill, a climate change package, and health care reform. Newmyer has also tackled investigative pieces on earmarks and produced groundbreaking coverage of the influence of money in politics. His work has appeared in Portfolio, The American and GQ. A native of Washington, D.C., Newmyer received a B.A. from Columbia University.
Lisa Desjardins is the Capitol Hill correspondent for CNNRadio. Desjardins, formerly Lisa Goddard, reports on the day-to-day congressional activity in addition to enterprise reporting. She joined CNN after working as a reporter in print, television and radio. Most recently, Desjardins worked for the Associated Press in Washington, D.C. Her work included coverage of the 2004 election, two hurricane seasons and the full range of issues from the war in Iraq to Medicare. Before that, Desjardins spent five years as a reporter in South Carolina where she covered the statehouse for CNN and NBC affiliate WIS-TV. Desjardins followed the Confederate flag debate in South Carolina and broke the news of a final compromise. Desjardins also covered the Republican presidential primary between George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain. Desjardins speaks Russian and lived in Russia for two years, spending most of her time in St. Petersburg. She holds a bachelor of economics degree from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va.
9:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon
NEW! ISSUES AND ADVOCACY TRAINING
Learn what it means to be a citizen lobbyist for a day! Professional lobbyist trainer Stephanie Vance of Advocacy Associates, and SAF lobbyists Lin Schmale and Corey Connors will help you translate broad industry concerns about healthcare and immigration reform into unique personal messages your legislators will understand. You’ll also get a hands-on lesson in effective lobbying tactics as Vance helps attendees practice talking to lawmakers in real-world situations.
12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m.
Feed your brain as you map out strategies for your appointments with the rest of your state or regional delegation.
1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
NEW! NEWSEUM TOUR
Immerse yourself in the news – past and present – at the Newseum. Five centuries of news history blends with up-to-the-second technology in this fascinating, state of the art museum. Sit in the hot seat of breaking news in an interactive newsroom, see the day’s news simultaneously in dozens of newspapers around the nation, and go inside the news (literally) in a 4D theater. Explore the challenges of covering 9/11, pause beside the Berlin Wall -- which could not keep out the news that ultimately brought it down, and enjoy the largest collection of Pulitzer Prize winning photographs ever assembled. Don’t miss the special exhibit dedicated to Ron Burgundy – America’s favorite fictitious (thankfully) news anchorman.
6:00 – 6:30 p.m.
FIRST TIMERS’ RECEPTION
Get to know fellow first-time attendees and chat with CAD veterans about what to expect during your legislative appointments.
6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
SAFPAC RECEPTION & DINNER*
Take a tour of Washington through the eyes of today’s new wave political journalists with Amy Walter, national editor of the Cook Political Report. A fresh voice in political analysis, Walter enjoys unparalleled access to campaign insiders and decision makers — and a well-earned reputation for accurate, objective, insightful assessments of national politics. Considered one of the top journalists covering Washington today, Walter is the former political director of ABC News. She has provided political analysis on almost every major political television program.
* Industry members who have donated $150 or more to SAFPAC, the floral industry’s political action committee, are invited to this event. For more information about SAFPAC contact Brian Gamberini, firstname.lastname@example.org, 800-336-4743.
TUESDAY, MARCH 11
7:30 - 9:00 A.M.
Wondering whether citizen lobbyists make a difference? You’ll find out just how much impact you can have when a Member of Congress talks about what legislators take away from constituent meetings. Before heading to Capitol Hill, you’ll also have another chance to chat with lobbyist trainer Stephanie Vance, get last minute questions answered and fine-tune your pitch.
This is your chance to make history! Walk the halls of Congress with other members of your delegation to visit your legislators and tell your story. SAF provides talking points and handouts and makes sure every first timer is partnered with a CAD veteran or SAF staff member as they make their rounds.
10:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.
HOSPITALITY SUITE AT THE CAPITOL HILL CLUB
Sponsored by Hortica Insurance & Employee Benefits
In between appointments, stop by the Capitol Hill Club Hospitality Suite to catch up, grab a snack, file a report and check-in with fellow attendees.
6:00 - 7:30 P.M.
DAY'S END RECEPTION
The Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City
Share your experiences and hear stories from other delegates at this relaxing wrap up to a busy day on Capitol Hill.