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ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- NACS will play host and debate moderator to Republican Rick Santorum and Democrat Howard Dean at this year's NACS Show closing general session on Oct. 10.
"NACS Show attendees will get an insider's perspective into the political process and what to look for in the final days leading up to the election from recent presidential candidates who can share unique insights," said NACS Vice Chairman of Convention Steve Loehr, who is vice president of operations support at Kwik Trip Inc.
Santorum, a native of Pennsylvania, was a candidate for the 2012 Republican nomination for President and became known as a voice for conservatives. His grassroots approach to campaigning -- including visiting every one of Iowa's 99 counties and his stunning victory in the Iowa caucuses -- catapulted him to frontrunner status where he ultimately won 11 states and three million votes during the Republican primary process. Prior to running for President, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 to 1995, and in the U.S. Senate from 1995 to 2007.
Dean served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009, creating and implementing the "50 State Strategy" and the development of 21st Century campaign tools that helped the party gain historic wins in the 2006 and 2008 elections. He is also the founder of the grassroots political organization, Democracy for America. Dean served as governor of Vermont for 12 years and was an early frontrunner for the 2004 Democratic nomination for President.
"Both Rick Santorum and Howard Dean are passionate about the issues that most affect our industry -- from health care to energy -- and attendees will leave this session not just with an insider's view of the issues and the political process, but with a greater understanding of what they can do to make a difference," Loehr added.
The matchup between Santorum and Dean will not be the first time that the NACS Show has featured a debate of the top political issues just weeks before a hotly contested election. In 2004, Newt Gingrich and James Carville sparred in a very lively debate at the annual industry event.
Full registration for the show, which includes admission to the general sessions, workshops, expo and the welcome reception, is $295 for NACS retailer members and $495 for other retailer attendees. One-day registration also is available ($195 for NACS retailer members and $295 for other retailers). These super-saver rates are available until Aug. 1. Registration and housing for the NACS Show are now available online by clicking here.
NACS already announced that Peter Sheahan, an expert on generational and business change, will serve as an opening general session speaker on Oct. 8. The acclaimed Ideas 2 Go video tour of industry innovation from around the country will be part of the Oct. 9 general session.
Last year, 22,312 attendees were at the 2011 NACS Show in Chicago, a 1.5-percent increase over attendance in 2010.