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Gil Valdes, Immediate Past Chair
Governmental Affairs VP
New York Life

Gil Valdes is a Vice President in New York Life's Office of Governmental Affairs. Prior to joining New York Life in 2003, he spent ten years at the New York City Council, working for Speaker Peter Vallone's central staff. He held the position of Finance Committee Counsel where he was responsible for the oversight of New York City’s multi-billion dollar expense and capital budgets. He finished his tenure at the New York City Council as Director of the Human Services Division where he acted as a Chief Advisor to the Speaker and was principally responsible for the review of all legislation, legal documentation and oversight prepared by the Division’s 13 substantive legislative committees, including the areas of Education, Health, General Welfare and Civil Service & Labor. In this role he managed a staff of 30 attorneys and policy analysts in the preparation of committee hearings, the drafting and editing of legislation and oversight reports, and the analysis of complicated legal and policy matters.

Mr. Valdes graduated from Fordham University with a B.S. degree in Accounting, and received his J.D. from Columbia Law School. He and his wife, Angela, have four children. His son Gilbert is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and is currently a federal agent in the Office of Special Investigations. His sons Michael and Brendan attend Baruch College and Yonsei University, respectively. His daughter Melanie is considered a world class Irish Step Dancer.

Kari King, Chair
Government Relations Director

Kari King is Director of Government Relations at USAA and is responsible for state government relations in Texas, Louisiana and Missouri. Kari was born and raised in San Antonio, and attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She received her JD and MPA from St. Mary's University in San Antonio. After law school, Kari worked for then-Chairman of the Railroad Commission, Elizabeth Ames Jones. She moved to the Texas House of Representatives in 2011 as General Counsel and Chief Clerk to the Committee on Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence. In addition to TALHI, she is on the board of several statewide insurance and business associations, including the Texas Civil Justice League, the Insurance Council of Texas, the Texas Association of Business and the Texas Coalition for Affordable Insurance Solutions. She enjoys traveling, running on Town Lake, and hunting and fishing in South Texas.

Suzanne Loomis, Vice Chair
SVP & Assistant General Counsel

Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel Suzanne Loomis manages Primerica’s Government Relations department. She and her staff work actively with both Federal, and State and Local Government Relations to advocate for appropriate legislative and regulatory reform. She is an active participant and board member of many industry trades and organizations including NIPR, NALC, ACHLIC, LICONY and TALHI. She has served as President of the NALC and is the President of IEC where she represents the unique perspective of companies servicing the underserved middle market, and is Treasurer of TALHI.

Suzanne joined Primerica in 2000 as Assistant General Counsel for PFS Investments, Inc., Primerica’s Broker-Dealer. She worked in the securities as Chief Compliance Officer until 2003 when she assumed responsibility for Media Advisory. She became a Senior Vice President in 2005. 

Prior to joining Primerica, Suzanne was in private practice. Suzanne earned her undergraduate degree from Agnes Scott University. She continued her education at Emory University School of Law, where she earned both J.D. and L.L.M. degrees. 

Kandice Sanaie, Secretary
Director, State Affairs

Kandice Sanaie is currently the Director of State Affairs for Cigna, and is based in Austin, Texas. Prior to joining Cigna, Ms. Sanaie served as Director or Regulatory Affairs for UnitedHealthcare, where she was responsible for managing regulatory affairs in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas.

Prior to joining UHC, Ms. Sanaie was the Governmental Affairs Manager for the Texas Association of Business, the largest business trade group in Texas, where she lobbied on behalf of thousands of business in the realms of health care, economic development, tort reform and insurance issues. Ms. Sanaie began her career in the Legislative arena in 2007 where she worked as general counsel for Chairman John Smithee and the House Insurance Committee.

Ms. Sanaie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Economics from the University of Kansas, and she received her Juris Doctorate and Master’s of Business Administration degrees from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.

Mark Williams
Senior Vice President - Investments and Compliance Officer
National Farm Life Insurance Company

Mark Williams is the Senior Vice President - Investments and Compliance Officer for National Farm Life. He has been with NFL for 16 years; prior to that he was a financial examiner with the Texas Department of Inurance. He has a BBA in Finance and an MBA for Tarleton State University.


Dwain A. Akins
Sr. VP, Corporate Relations & Chief Compliance Officer
American National Insurance Company

Dwain Akins is the Senior Vice President-Corporate Relations and Chief Corporate Compliance Officer for American National Insurance Company in Galveston, Texas. He has worked in the life insurance and financial services industry for approximately 35 years. He is a member of both the Missouri Bar and Texas Bar Associations, and has a Series 6 & 26 FINRA securities license, as well as the following insurance certifications: FLMI Masters, CLU, CHFC, and CPCU. Prior to joining American National, Mr. Akins worked for GE Financial Assurance in Richmond, VA and USAA Life in San Antonio, TX. Mr. Akins is also a former insurance department regulator having worked for the Missouri Insurance Department.

He grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri with a major in political science and a minor in public accounting. He received his Juris Doctorate also from the University of Missouri. 

Gary Allen
2nd VP, Governmental Relations

Gary Allen is 2nd Vice President for Aflac Government Relations West Region. He joined Aflac in 1983 where he served in several capacities starting in Compliance, Marketing and joined the Government Relations Department in 1989. He serves on the boards of TALHI and ACLHIC and represents Aflac at NAIC, NIPR and NCOIL. He has served on the NIPR Board since 2003, and is past president of the Industry Education Council (IEC) at NCOIL.

Mr. Allen is a graduate of Columbus State University and married to Kathy; they have one son and three grandsons.

Joan Cleveland
President & CEO
SWBC Life Insurance Co.

Joan Cleveland leads SWBC Life Insurance Company, strategically identifying new markets and implementing innovative distribution methods and product offerings. She employs her Six Sigma analytical skills to drive process improvements to enhance the overall customer experience. As a skilled senior executive with more than 30 years of proven leadership and deep experience in the financial services industry, Joan is adept at leveraging her expertise and creativity to integrate products, distribution, and marketing plans for the benefit of the consumer, the customer, and the company.

Joan is a frequent industry speaker and media spokesperson. She is the Chair of LIMRA’s Strategic Marketing Issues Committee, as well as an Executive Committee member of the Board of Directors of the Consumer Credit Industry Association and Vice Chair of the CCIA Political Action Committee.

Joan holds her Agent licenses for Life, Accident, and Health with appointments throughout all 50 states and has multiple FINRA securities licenses. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration as well as the Chartered Life Underwriter®, Chartered Financial Consultant®, Registered Employee Benefits Consultant®, and Certified Long-Term Care Professional designations.

John R. Camillo
Sr. VP, Government Relations
Kemper Life & Health Group

John Camillo is the Senior Vice President, Government Relations for the Kemper Home Service Companies in St. Louis, Missouri. Prior to joining Kemper, he was the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of J.C. Penney Life Insurance Company and Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel of Stonebridge Life Insurance Company.

Mr. Camillo graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in accounting from Fordham College of Business Administration and Fordham Law School where he was Editor of the Fordham Law Review. After graduating from Fordham Law School, John started his legal career as a litigator at the Wall Street law firm of Hughes, Hubbard & Reed. John also worked as a litigator for several major New York law firms before becoming Managing Attorney for J.C. Penney’s Legal Department and in charge of Penney’s nation-wide litigation.

Mr. Camillo currently serves on the Boards of the Life Insurance Council, the Alabama Association of Life Insurance Companies, the Louisiana Insurers’ Conference, the National Alliance of Life Companies and the Alabama and Louisiana Guaranty Associations.

Ron Doughty
Vice President-Government Affairs

Ron Doughty has over 30 years of experience in corporate public affairs. He is currently Vice President of External Affairs for Prudential Financial, Inc., a New Jersey based financial services company.

Located in Austin, Texas, Doughty is responsible for all legislative and regulatory matters impacting Prudential in the South Central Region. As part of his duties, Doughty has worked such issues as financial services, insurance, banking, taxation, budget, tort reform, commercial mortgage, outsourcing, credit scoring, privacy and telemarketing. His activities include direct lobbying, policy analysis, issue strategy formation, testifying before governmental committees, coalition building, association participation/leadership, PAC development and political campaigning. Doughty joined the Company in 1995.

Prior to joining Prudential, Doughty was Director of Government Relations at CITGO Petroleum/the Southland Corporation, a company which owned and operated 7-Eleven convenience stores, from 1984 until 1994 in Dallas, Texas. He was responsible for directing the company’s government affairs operation both nationally and internationally. Prior to this, he served as Public Affairs Advisor at Exxon Corporation.

Doughty has a Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Political Science (with a concentration in Public Policy) from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. While at the University, he taught various government/public policy courses, conducted public opinion surveys and performed political research. Doughty also has a B.S. in Education (Political Science) from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Eric Dupont
Vice President, Government Affairs
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America

Eric Dupont is the Vice President of Government Affairs for Guardian.

Keith Jones
Senior Counsel
National Life Group

Keith Jones is Senior Counsel responsible for state government affairs at National Life Group. He is an active participant in many industry trades and organizations, including ACLI, LICONY, VCIA and TALHI. He also serves as a board member of the Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine life and health insurance guaranty associations. Keith is a member of the Federation of Regulatory Counsel and a former faculty member of the International Center for Captive Insurance Education.

Keith graduated cum laude from Vanderbilt University and from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, where he served as an Executive Board member for the Hale Moot Court Honors Program and was awarded the Mason C. Brown Award for commitment to justice and trial advocacy skill. Keith served as a judicial extern in the chambers of the Honorable Napoleon A. Jones, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

Prior to joining National Life Group, Keith was in private practice. He represented clients in the insurance industry with respect to regulatory compliance, governance, policy forms, reinsurance arrangements/transactions and mergers and reorganizations. He has also represented clients before state and federal regulatory agencies and advocated on behalf of clients before legislators, committees and administrative agencies. Keith is licensed to practice law in Vermont, Massachusetts and Washington, DC.

Ted G. Kennedy
Vice President & Co-Head, US State Government Affairs

Ted Kennedy has over 31 years of experience in the financial services arena. Having served a term with Citicorp N.A., Mr. Kennedy is in his 29th year with American International Group, Inc. His office is in Austin, Texas where he holds the position of Vice President & Co-Head, US State Government Affairs. Mr. Kennedy manages the company’s state level governmental affairs issues for the Western United States with a focus operationally on the company’s life insurance and annuities lines. He participates in the drafting of legislation, provides expert testimony before legislative and regulatory committees, plans internal strategy and manages ongoing activity. He frequently represents the company before national associations where he regularly conducts educational seminars.

Mr. Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law. He is a member of the Association of Life Insurance Counsel and board member of the Texas Association of Life and Health Insurers, the Association of California Life and Health Insurance Companies and the Hawaii Insurance Council. In addition, Mr. Kennedy manages the company’s guaranty association activity and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Texas, New York, Florida, Georgia and Washington guaranty funds.

Tom Mays
VP, Government Relations
Pacific Life

Mr. Mays joined Pacific Life in 1993 and serves as Vice President of Government Relations. He is responsible for managing all state industry-related issues for the company. He is also responsible for monitoring international regulatory issues that may impact Pacific Life.

Prior to joining Pacific Life, Mr. Mays served in the California State Assembly representing the 58th Assembly District encompassing coastal Los Angeles and Orange Counties from 1990 to 1992. He served in leadership as Minority Whip for the Republican Caucus. Mr. Mays also served on several key assembly committees including: Revenue and Taxation (Vice Chair); Insurance; Banking, Finance and Bonded Indebtedness; Consumer Protection; and Higher Education.  As Minority Whip, he represented the leadership’s positions on particular measures and was successful in jockeying several bills through the legislature including the establishment of the California Environmental Protection Agency and banning new offshore oil drilling along the California coast in state waters. Mr. Mays briefly served in Governor Pete Wilson’s administration as chief, Office of Regulatory Assistance, California Environmental Protection Agency, in Sacramento.

Prior to serving in the California State Assembly, Mr. Mays worked at McDonnell Douglas Space Systems Company, Huntington Beach, CA as a staff manager in Marketing Strategic Planning with responsibility for strategic planning, market analysis, and competitive assessment from 1978 to 1990.  He also served as Mayor of Huntington Beach and as a member of the City Council from 1986 - 1990.  During his term as Mayor, Tom led the city emergency response team during The American Trader Oil spill off the shores of Huntington Beach gaining local, state, and national recognition for his efforts.

Mr. Mays represents Pacific Life on several state and national trade associations. He also is involved in his community serving as Past Chairman and Member of the Board of the Bolsa Chica Conservancy.

Chris Munson
General Counsel
Landmark Life Insurance Company

Chris Munson serves as General Counsel for Landmark Life Insurance Company, which is based in Texas.

Lee Spangler
VP, Government Relations
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas

Lee Spangler is vice president of government relations at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX), where he directs the company’s state advocacy efforts.

Lee joined the organization after spending 16 years at the Texas Medical Association, where he served as vice president of medical economics. The Division of Medical Economics represents, develops policy for, and advocates for the Texas Medical Association on regulatory, socioeconomic, and health policy issues at state and federal levels. For the nine years prior to his appointment as vice president, Lee was associate general counsel practicing insurance law, health law, and administrative law for the Association.

Lee earned his undergraduate degree in business administration from Saint Edward’s University in Austin and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Dayton School of Law. Prior to working for Texas Medical Association, Lee was the acting general counsel for the Texas State Board of Physician Assistant Examiners, a staff attorney for the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners and a staff attorney with the Texas Department of Insurance where he specialized in issues relating to HMO solvency.

Among his accomplishments is his appointment to the Texas Attorney General's HIPAA Preemption Analysis Task Force, where he assisted the Attorney General and his staff in reviewing Texas laws that relate to confidential health information. Lee also served as chair of the State Bar of Texas Health Law Section and is currently still a member.

John Stuckemeyer
Texas State Counsel
State Farm

John Stuckemeyer is Counsel in the Legislative and Regulatory section of the Corporate Law Department. He joined State Farm as a summer intern in 1991 and joined the law department full time in 1992. He transferred to Sacramento, California in 1995 to direct California government affairs. In 1997, John transferred to Tallahassee, Florida to direct Florida government affairs. He returned to Corporate in 1999 to assume responsibility for government affairs in the Mid-Atlantic Zone. John transferred to Austin, Texas in 2009 to direct Texas government affairs.

John graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the Southern Illinois University School of Law in 1992. He graduated with a Bachelors of English from Eastern Illinois University in 1989.  He is a native of Southern Illinois. He is married to State Farm employee Kate Stuckemeyer and they have two children Jack and Jessica.