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Domenici conference probes top issues

The issues that dominate today’s news – the debate on immigration reform, the legislative stalemate in Washington and the future of our national defense strategy – are among the pressing state and national policy topics set to be discussed at the 2014 Domenici Public Policy Conference in Las Cruces.

DOMENICI: N.M.'s longest-serving U.S. senator

DOMENICI: N.M.’s longest-serving U.S. senator

PANETTA: Was Defense secretary, CIA director

PANETTA: Was Defense secretary, CIA director

Experts including former U.S. Secretary of Defense and former CIA Director Leon Panetta, former U.S. counterintelligence head and inspector general of the National Security Agency Joel Brenner and national political strategists Donna Brazile and Charlie Black are among those scheduled to appear.

Set for Sept. 17 and 18 at the Las Cruces Convention Center, 680 E. University Ave., the Domenici conference is now in its seventh year. The Domenici Institute, which hosts the conference each fall, is named after New Mexico’s longest-serving U.S. senator, Pete V. Domenici. The institute was established ith the goal of continuing Domenici’s legacy of service to the state of New Mexico and the nation by providing unique learning and policy-research opportunities.

BRENNER: Ex-inspector general of the NSA

BRENNER: Ex-inspector general of the NSA

“The slate of topics this year couldn’t be more timely, and the caliber of speakers scheduled to attend is a testament to the premier status of this conference in our region,” said NMSU President Garrey Carruthers, who also serves as director of the institute. “The Domenici Institute and New Mexico State University are extremely pleased to bring these expert perspectives to our conference, thanks to the personal involvement of Sen. Domenici.”

Panetta will open Wednesday’s sessions with his perspective on U.S. defense priorities over the next five years. He served as U.S. secretary of defense from 2011 to 2013, overseeing the final removal of American troops from Iraq as well as the beginning of troop withdrawals from Afghanistan. Panetta also served as director of the CIA from 2009 to 2011, where he oversaw the operation that resulted in bringing Osama bin Laden to justice.

Wednesday’s second session will be a panel discussion on the bipartisan challenge in Washington, D.C. Panelists will be Dan Glickman, former U.S. secretary of agriculture and a former congressman from Kansas; Frank Keating, former governor of Oklahoma and president and CEO of the American Bankers Association; and Mary Wilson, former president of the League of Women Voters of the United States.

Wednesday afternoon’s three sessions will focus on immigration reform, with views from Randel Johnson, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Angela Maria Kelley, vice president for immigration policy at the Center for American Progress; and Carlos Gutierrez, former U.S. secretary of commerce.

The conference’s second day will open with a session on cyber espionage and the digital battleground, featuring Joel Brenner, former head of U.S. counterintelligence for the director of national intelligence and former senior counsel and inspector general of the National Security Agency.

The cyber security discussion will continue with a presentation by John Zepper, director of computing and network services at Sandia National Laboratories.

Finally, the conversation will turn to the upcoming elections, with analysis from Democratic political strategist and commentator Donna Brazile and Republican political strategist and presidential adviser Charlie Black.

After lunch, the New Mexico gubernatorial candidates – incumbent Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, and Democratic challenger Gary King – will each present their platforms.

The 2014 Domenici Public Policy Conference costs $50 to attend. Online registration begins July 28 at The event is free to university students. For more information or to receive an invitation by mail, call the Domenici Institute at 575-646-2066.

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