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Conference Leadership Meets with Republican Presidential Nominee McCain

June 2, 2008


Senator McCain

On May 19 in Chicago, Conference Vice President Miami Mayor Manny Diaz led a delegation of mayors that met with the 2008 presumptive Republican nominee Arizona Senator John McCain. Conference of Mayors leadership participating in the meeting in addition to Diaz was Past Conference President Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley; Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, Chair of the Standing Committee on Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports; and Conference Executive Director and CEO Tom Cochran.

The mayors were joined by members of the Travel Business Roundtable that convened the meeting. Jonathan M. Tisch, Chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels and Chairman of the Travel Business Roundtable led the group of CEOs. Senator Joe Liebermann (CT), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and close McCain advisor, and Carly Fiorina, former chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard and one of McCain’s principal economic advisors, also participated in the session.

In the first-ever meeting between the travel industry and mayors with a major Presidential candidate, the event focused on the importance of travel promotion, the need to balance security and travel, and the nation’s ailing air travel system. McCain agreed to more closely evaluate a co-sponsorship of the Travel Promotion Act; highlighted the importance of better utilizing technology to improve the efficiency of national security, and pledged to work towards modernizing the air traffic system. He also agreed to work with the travel industry to improve the entry procedures.

In the private meeting, Diaz and Cochran discussed the invitation extended to McCain to address the 76th Annual Conference of Mayors meeting in Miami, June 20-24. McCain gave the group a positive response and the actual date will be announced later.

The meeting with McCain and the mayors and business executives occurred during the Annual Meeting of the National Restaurant Association. Diaz and Cochran earlier met with National Restaurant Association’s Immediate Past President Dick Rivera and National Restaurant Association President and CEO Dawn Sweeney to pledge a partnership between the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Restaurant Association.

Participants in the meeting with McCain were: Conference of Mayors Vice President Miami Mayor Manny Diaz; Conference of Mayors Past President Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley; Standing Committee Chair on Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann; Conference of Mayors Executive Director and CEO Tom Cochran; Jonathan M. Tisch, Chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels and Chairman of the Travel Business Roundtable; Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Chairman, Carlson; Steven Rudnitsky, President and CEO, Wyndham Hotel Group; Michael Kaufman, Co-President, Enovo Restaurant Ventures and Chairman, National Restaurant Association; Dick Rivera, Principal, Rubicon Enterprises and Immediate Past Chairman, National Restaurant Association; Dawn Seeney, President and CEO, National Restaurant Association; and Roger Dow, President and CEO, Travel Industry Association.

The Travel Business Roundtable is a CEO-based organization whose mission is to educate public officials and policymakers about the important economic, social and diplomatic contributions of the travel and tourism industry. Cochran serves as a Board Member. Since 9/11, the Conference of Mayors and the Travel Business Roundtable have forged a partnership to promote American cities and international travel. This issue is contained in the Conference’s 10-Point Plan, Strong Cities-Strong Families-for a Strong America, which is being presented to the national candidates during the ’08 Presidential Campaign.