HHS Secretary Sebelius to Speak at United’s Washington Conference

The country’s highest-ranking health official -- Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius -- will address the United Fresh Produce Association’s Washington Public Policy Conference (WPPC) on Thursday morning, September 16.

During her speech, Sebelius will discuss the federal commitment to improvements in child nutrition, food safety and health care, as well as the role the produce industry has in these initiatives and their impact on the larger business community.

 “Secretary Sebelius is in a great position to affect lasting change in our industry’s biggest issues,” said United Fresh President Tom Stenzel. “The secretary’s unwavering commitment to a healthier America starts with prevention and wellness, two areas at which eating a diet rich in healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables is at the forefront.”

Ranked by Modern Healthcare as the second most powerful person in healthcare and by Forbes as the 57th most powerful woman in the world, Sebelius was appointed to the office of Secretary of Health and Human Services by President Barack Obama in April 2009. Sebelius is the former governor of Kansas and the former chair of the Democratic Governor’s Association, and throughout her political career has focused on the issues of education and health care, among others.

Secretary Sebelius’ address is one of the multiple educational opportunities at the conference, which is held September 14-16 at the Gaylord National Hotel on the banks of the Potomac River. During the three-day event, attendees will gather to discuss food safety, farm labor, nutrition and consumption, locally grown and other priority issues for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry.

United WPPC attendees will also hear from USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), as well as political strategist and author Frank Luntz. During the annual March on Capitol Hill, industry members will have the unique opportunity to meet in person with lawmakers and staff, discuss food safety policies with FDA officials, hear from key Cabinet officials and engage in face-to-face dialogue with President Obama’s executive team. Additionally, top national journalists will discuss important policy issues and the value of relationships with the consumer media during the Fresh Press media roundtable.

This year’s conference will also include the return of the Management Resource Center, where attendees can research and explore new solutions and technology providers, and the popular Fresh Festival on Capitol Hill, a favorite among industry members and congressional staffers alike. During Fresh Festival, House and Senate lawmakers and their staff join attendees to sample the various fruits and vegetables the produce industry has to offer.

In addition to Fresh Festival, the conference will also include a New Orleans-themed cruise up the Potomac River to benefit United’s A Salad Bar in Every School campaign. As part of the build-up to the United Fresh 2011 convention and expo in New Orleans, guests will enjoy Dixieland jazz, dinner and waterfront views of Washington, D.C., all while raising funds to provide salad bars to schools in New Orleans and nationwide.

Registration is now open and more information may be found by contacting United Fresh Political Affairs Manager Angela Bezon at 202-303-3400, ext. 416 or [email protected], or by visiting www.unitedfresh.org.

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