The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) has announced a preview of the agenda for the 2012 American Boating Congress (ABC). ABC will be held from April 24-25, 2012 at Capitol Hill locations including the Liaison Hotel, and the National Guard Memorial Building.

The line-up includes a variety of dynamic speakers, invited to discuss an array of urgent policy and legislative issues affecting the recreational boating industry. Policymakers, advocates and stakeholders will contribute to this important dialogue during the session. The agenda includes:

Jon Jarvis, Director for the National Park Service

Jon Jarvis became the 18th Director of the National Park Service on October 2, 2009. A career ranger who began as a seasonal interpreter in 1976 in Washington, Jarvis leads an agency that preserves and manages nearly 400 national parks that include some of the nation’s most treasured landscapes and cultural icons. Director Jarvis will speak to the assembly on important issues such as Biscayne National Park and the proposed General Management plan, threatening to close access to boaters and anglers.

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD)

Rep. Harris currently serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure, Natural Resources and Science, Space, and Technology committees and Chairs the subcommittee on Energy and Environment. He has heard testimony from two NMMA members on separate occasions during Congressional hearings on E15 and its effects on marine engines. He will speak on E15 at ABC, including information on what members can do to help stop this potentially dangerous legislation.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Sen. Whitehouse is a member of the Budget Committee, the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, the Judiciary Committee, the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee; and the Special Committee on Aging. He chairs the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism and the EPW Subcommittee on Oversight and is co-chair of the Senate Oceans Caucus.  He will talk about the oceans and Great Lakes, how recreational fishing and boating on them are economic drivers for the country, and how access to their bounty is absolutely necessary.

Francisco J. Sanchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Francisco J. Sánchez was appointed by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as Under Secretary for International Trade at the U.S. Department of Commerce. As Under Secretary, Sánchez leads the International Trade Administration which assists in the development of U.S. trade policy in the global economy; creates jobs and economic growth by promoting U.S. companies; strengthens American competitiveness across all industries; addresses market access and compliance issues; administers U.S. trade laws; and undertakes a range of trade promotion and trade advocacy efforts. At ABC, he will discuss the New Marketing Export Initiative (NMEI), with which NMMA is a strategic partner.

Neil Newhouse, Public Opinion Strategies

Neil Newhouse is a partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies, a national political and public affairs research firm which has been described by the New York Times as the leading Republican polling company in the country, and was named Pollster of the Year by the trade publication Campaigns and Elections for its work in the 2002 election cycle. At ABC, he will discuss the upcoming 2012 elections and provide a political forecast for the year.

Greg Ip, The Economist

Greg Ip is US economics editor for The Economist, based in Washington D.C. He covers the economy, financial markets, monetary, fiscal and regulatory policy. He contributes to The Economist’s blog, Free Exchange, and is a frequent commentator on radio and television. At ABC he will discuss the ongoing economic changes and how they may affect the recreational boating industry as we move forward following the recession. Greg spoke at last year’s ABC and is being brought back by popular demand.

NMMA President, Thom Dammrich says “NMMA is thrilled to host such a variety of respected and knowledgeable speakers at this year’s ABC. It is imperative to our industry that we participate in an ongoing dialogue about policy issues affecting us all.”

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