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The Annual Legislative Conference: a historic conference for historic times. (National Commentary).

One of the great opportunities for the corporate credit professional each year is the NACM Annual Legislative Conference that takes place in Washington, D.C. The 2002 conference, which is scheduled from March 10-12 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia, promises to be the most unique gathering that we have planned in the 31 years of hosting such conferences.

We are particularly excited this year because the conference will be co-hosted by the Commercial Law League of America (CLLA). Given the wide commonality of interests between the two organizations and the highly charged political landscape in Washington, D.C., this promises to be a conference of extraordinary value. Together with the CLLA, we have developed a program and a series of speakers that will provide some rare insights and unique perspectives on the events of 2001. We believe that those who attend this year's conference will enjoy a vision of what can be expected on the economic, political and social scenes for the coming years. This truly is the most ambitious program we have ever presented.

There is virtually no issue currently under consideration by Congress or any of the regulatory agencies that was not affected by the events of last year. The response by Washington, D.C. to the terrorist attacks and to a sagging economy exacerbated by the terrorist attacks has been unprecedented and unfinished. Together with the CLLA, NACM will examine some of the farreaching implications that these policy debates will have on both corporate America and the small businesses responding to these challenges.

We believe we have developed a series of distinguished panels that will examine the impact that the war on terrorism will have on economic trends, on money laundering regulations, on international trade practices and on an economic stimulus package. Contentious issues like privacy protections in areas like finance and commerce are being reexamined as part of the response to these developments.

We will present Congressional representatives to discuss the effect that the war on terrorism has had and will have in the coming years on American interests here and abroad. Conference attendees will hear from speakers with backgrounds in the U.S. intelligence community about the impact that the war in Afghanistan is having on the world community and on our trading partners.

While most of us do not understand the consequences that these events have on our daily lives, experts from the international security arena will help explain the changes we clearly see and the changes we are not seeing. Whether we realize it or not, our jobs, our lives and our future are changing in numerous ways. We hope to present a rich diversity of perspectives to provide some context for us--to let us see where we have been and where we are going.

However, what is not new about the Annual Legislative Conference is the true purpose behind it--education. Most NACM members believe that education in the context of this conference is a one-way street. Conferees show up in Washington, are provided a program rich in discussions of pending and emerging public policy issues; issues that have been highlighted particularly because they have an impact on the jobs that corporate credit managers do on a daily basis. And we try to ensure that those providing the information to conferees are among the most prominent Congressional leaders and policy makers in Washington, D.C.

What many conferees do not realize is the importance that their presence at this conference means to the corporate credit community. On the final day of the conference, NACM members visit the offices of their members of Congress to discuss the issues of importance to them and their companies. These visits on Capitol Hill are, from my perspective, the real reason for the conference. NACM members are provided briefing sessions and materials about the most critical issues and concerns to the commercial credit community. They, in turn, communicate these concerns to their members of Congress. A meeting between a constituent and an elected representative is the most effective type of lobbying because it is the most direct. The education of Congressional members and staff about corporate credit must be continually dynamic and ideally, personal. Education really is a two-way street.

We need the active participation of all of you who can make it to Washington to assist us in this educational effort. Talk to your colleagues who have attended the Legislative Conference in the past and ask about the benefit that they believe it has brought to them and their companies. I can assure you that there is no more rewarding experience that they have had--and I can assure you that Capitol Hill is a more knowledgeable institution as a result of their efforts. I look forward to seeing you in Washington on March 10th.

Jim Wise is NACM's Washington Representative.
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Title Annotation:National Association of Credit Management and Commercial Law League of America joint conference
Author:Wise, Jim
Publication:Business Credit
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2002
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