SNA’s 2018 Legislative Action Conference started Sunday, March 4th and ends today, Tuesday, March 6th, when 900 school nutrition professionals will storm the Hill in defense of school nutrition programs! Here’s a quick recap of the event-packed conference.
The first day of the conference featured an opening luncheon followed by a keynote address by political pundits Peter Hart and Frank Luntz. Hart and Luntz provided some political party banter, offering jokes along with their expert insights into the current political landscape and the 2018 midterm elections. Members loved the two men’s senses of humor as they discussed some tough topics and looked at some statistical data and public polling results. Later that afternoon, another General Session featured Dr. Keith Ayoob who discussed the strong connection between breakfast and academic performance. All speakers, as well as that day’s breakout sessions like LAC 101: Strategies for Successful Hill Visits and Mastering Forecasting- How to Effectively Utilize All Your Entitlement, provided valuable information to members to take to the Hill with them on Tuesday.
The second day of LAC kicked off with an informational USDA 2018 Update, where several officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture discussed child nutrition program activities, research, USDA Foods and other relevant topics. Recent and new regulations guidance was announced. This was followed by a presentation from Rebecca Vallas from the Center for American Progress and Sharon Parrott from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on Block Grants. Their presentations provided a deep dive into the reasons why block grants don’t work and are bad news for school nutrition programs.
SNA was very excited to host Deputy Secretary Steve Censky during the final General Session on Monday afternoon. Prior to providing remarks to attendees, Deputy Secretary Censky met with the SNA Executive Committee and the SNA Public Policy and Legislation Committee for a discussion about the policies and regulations that are working and those that are hindering school nutrition programs. The conference ended with the presentation of the SNA 2018 Position Paper and Charge the Hill. From extensive detail about each position on the 2018 Position Paper and why it was chosen, to important tips for talking to Members of Congress, the presentation was packed with critical information necessary for effective Hill visits.
The last day of the conference, today, Tuesday, March 6, members are taking everything they learned from their time at the conference and their extensive knowledge of school nutrition programs to Capitol Hill to advocate for sound policy that keep their students fed and ready to learn in the classroom!