Plenary Speakers

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) is Sunday’s Lunch Plenary Speaker

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) will be our keynote speaker during the Lunch Plenary on Sunday, February 24. Rep. Blunt Rochester’s dedication to anti-hunger programs, especially her advocacy for SNAP during Farm Bill consideration, makes her the ideal speaker for this plenary session focusing on “Creating Opportunities and Providing Defense to Anti-Poverty Programs.” Rep. Blunt Rochester, an Assistant Whip for House Leadership and a former member of the House Agriculture Committee, will bring her valuable insights on priorities for protecting and strengthening safety net programs like SNAP.

Columbia, SC Mayor to Deliver Keynote

The Honorable Stephen K. Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, SC, will be our keynote speaker during the Breakfast Plenary on Monday, February 25. Mayor Benjamin is also President of the United States Conference of Mayors, which issues the annual Report on Hunger and Homelessness in America’s Cities. He is a champion for individuals and families in need, and his insights will be invaluable as we prepare for our day on Capitol Hill.

Monday Lunch Plenary Panel Announced

Monday’s Lunch Plenary on February 25, titled “The Past, Present and Future of Critical Human Needs Programs in the Shadow of the Shutdown,” will feature perspectives on the partial government shutdown from experts on federal nutrition programs, housing assistance, and other safety net programs, as well as the impact on low-wage earners, charitable providers, retailers, and the economy.


Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, Ph.D.
Director, Institute for Policy Research and the Margaret Walker Alexander Professor, School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University
Research Associate,National Bureau of Economic Research

Diane Yentel
President & CEO, National Low Income Housing Coalition

LaQuita Honeysucker
Legislative Director, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union

Matt Knott
President, Feeding America

“This is ‘the big show’ for anyone working to end hunger in America. I’ve been attending for a decade, and I’m still learning something new every time. It’s easy to develop tunnel vision in our work; the policy conference opens up my thinking, and reminds me that I am part of a national movement. It can be frustrating building progress in what feel like regressive times. The policy conference renews my commitment, and reminds me how many others share it.”
JC Dwyer, Chief Strategy Officer, Feeding Texas