The National Restaurant Association's 27th Annual Public Affairs Conference, in Washington, D.C., April 17-18, will feature Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as political consultant veterans Paul Begala and Alex Castellanos.

Congressman McCarthy represents the 23rd District of California, which spans Kern, Tulare and Los Angeles counties. First elected in 2006, he is a native of Bakersfield and a fourth-generation Kern County resident. After the 2010 midterm elections, McCarthy was elected by his colleagues to serve as Majority Whip.

Begala, a political analyst for CNN, was a counselor to President Clinton and helped define that Administration's agenda on economic, domestic and international issues. He has advised political campaigns throughout the country and around the world, including Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. At CNN, he is part of the political team that won an Emmy for its coverage of the 2006 elections and a Peabody Award for its coverage of the 2008 presidential election. He also is a columnist for Newsweek and The Daily Beast.

Castellanos is one of the Republican Party's best-known media consultants and strategists. He was a media consultant to seven U.S Presidential campaigns and helped elect nine U.S. senators and six governors. He has more than 20 years of political consulting experience, including campaign strategy, public opinion research and communications experience.

The 2013 public affairs conference theme, "Carry the Message — America Works Here," is part of the NRA's ongoing campaign to tell the industry's story as a leading job creator to opinion leaders. The restaurant industry is the nation's second-largest private sector employer of more than 13 million individuals and an engine of economic growth.

During Capitol Hill meetings, conference attendees will provide members of Congress and staff with firsthand experiences, articulating the need for pro-growth policies, including tax and immigration reforms, as well as reforms to the 2010 health care law.

The conference agenda also includes the Gala Restaurant Industry Awards Program honoring the winners of the 2013 Faces of Diversity and Restaurant Neighbor awards.

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