By L.A, Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A longtime advocate of strong alcohol control policies, Christian Action League Executive Director Mark Creech will play an even larger role in this issue nationally over the next four years as a leader of the American Council on Alcohol Problems.
Chosen the organization’s President-Elect this week at its Annual Convention at Westminster Presbyterian Church located one block from the Capital Building in Sacramento, the Rev. Creech is set to serve as President from 2013 to 2015. He retains his chairmanship of the Council’s Resolutions Committee.
“This is a great opportunity to help make an impact on alcohol policy across the nation,” the Rev. Creech said of becoming ACAP’s President-Elect.
Dr. Dan Ireland, ACAP’s Executive Director, said Creech has already been doing so.
“Mark has done a tremendous job in North Carolina. He stays up to date on issues and is very helpful to all of us, very good at writing articles and resolutions to express how we all feel,” Ireland said Wednesday as the three-day convention drew to a close. “Mark is very highly respected among his peers in this movement.”
ACAP is a federation of some two dozen state affiliates promoting the reduction of alcohol advertising, availability and consumption throughout the United States. The Council was a leader in the push for raising the drinking age to 21, helped get an increase in the excise tax on alcoholic beverages during the first Bush Administration and prevailed upon the airlines to put a stop to smoking on planes.
At this year’s annual meeting, themed “Prevention, the Answer” members were briefed about a variety of issues from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome research to best practices in battling binge drinking on college campuses.
Speakers included Dr. Robert Saltz from the Prevention Resource Center in California, Fred Jones with the California Council on Alcohol Problems, Stephen Ernst with the California State Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and others. Attendees learned about new host responsibility laws used to discourage adults from supplying alcohol to underage drinkers, the dangers of alcohol energy drinks, the Marin Institute’s Free the Bowl efforts to prohibit alcohol ads during the Super Bowl, and the success of the Friday Night Live Partnership, a program that trains middle and high school students to be leaders and advocates against underage alcohol use.
The organization took up a number of other alcohol related issues and drafted resolutions in support of the CARE (Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness) Act and in opposition to Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s push to privatize liquor sales there.
“We share ideas, thoughts and what is working in our states,” said Dr. Ireland, who is from Alabama, where he led the Alabama Citizens Action Program (formerly the Alabama Council on Alcohol Problems) for 30 years.
ALCAP’s current education director Dr. Bill Day finished his stint as president of ACAP Wednesday turning the gavel over to the Rev. James Butler, who heads the California Council on Alcohol Problems.
Rev. Butler said coalition building was also a topic at the meeting as members confirmed the need for and value of joining forces with other organizations when common ground presents itself.
“We realize we have greater hope in greater numbers and we don’t have to agree on every issue to work together on the ones that we do agree on,” he said. “The challenge is clearly before us to build coalitions when we can.”
Butler said he expects the next two years to see ACAP develop a broader and broader support base with more states involved and more groups within those states.
“We had a good meeting, learned a lot and got encouraged to go out and do even more,” he said.
The Rev. Creech, who had no idea he would be nominated and voted President-Elect, said he is honored and thrilled by the opportunity. The new post will not affect his role at the Christian Action League.