LCSN: Political all-stars join Domenici conference

August 31, 2010. Retrieved online September 1, 2010 from Diana M. Alba, Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES – This year’s Domenici Public Policy Conference, which starts today at New Mexico State University, features an all-star lineup of political figures.

Attending the two-day event will be Karl Rove, a contentious figure in the former Bush administration who’s now a Fox News contributor; Sam Donaldson, an ABC news anchor and native New Mexican; U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, the senior senator of her state; Joe Lockhart, political commentator; and New Mexico’s two gubernatorial candidates.

The conference was able to schedule the big names because of former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici’s efforts to invite them, said Garrey Carruthers, dean of the NMSU business college and director of the university’s Domenici Institute.

“We give nearly all of our credit to Sen. Domenici who’s willing to pick up the phone and invite people to come and participate,” he said. “He’s our biggest recruiter.”

The conference, in its third year, was founded to honor Domenici, R-N.M. He retired in 2009 because of an illness, after a 36-year tenure in Congress.

As of Tuesday afternoon, some 620 people had registered, Carruthers said. Roughly 200 are students, who don’t have to pay the $50 registration fee.

“This could conceivably be our best attendance,” he said.

Domenici will be present both days.

Two experts on financial reform are slated to start off the sessions this morning. They’ll be followed by Hutchison, speaking about border issues, and former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., now co-chairman of a group seeking to reduce worldwide threats from biological and chemical weapons.

Financial reform, national security, the U.S.-Mexico border and 2010 midterm elections are topics on the agenda, which caps off Thursday afternoon. Prior to that, Democrat Diane Denish and Republican Susana Martinez, New Mexico’s gubernatorial candidates, are slated to speak. Carruthers said only students will be allowed to ask the candidates questions afterward.

Read the Las Cruces Sun-News article.

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