SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Coalition of Travel Organizations (CCTO) established an award to honor a legislator who has supported the travel industry and traveling public.

A dinner event, to be held March 1 in Los Angeles, will honor California State Sen. Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo), who has pushed legislation for the CCTO, the travel trade lobbying group made up of ASTA chapters and other agent and tour operator groups.

Speier will be the first recipient of the Schweitzer Award for Legislative Excellence.

The award is named for Fred Schweitzer, the CCTO's secretary, who died in December while on vacation in Germany.

Schweitzer was a long-time tour operator and travel agent in northern California who was active in the NorCal chapter of ASTA as well as the CCTO.

"One would be hard-pressed to find a nicer, more decent guy" than Schweitzer, said Diane Embree, CCTO president. "Not only do I miss him on a personal level, but the loss is great to CCTO. He could always be counted on to help out in every way."

The dinner is scheduled for the Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles.

A champagne reception at 7 p.m. will be followed by dinner and the award presentation at 7:30 p.m. Business or cocktail attire is requested.

To participate, send a check for $25 to Diane Embree, Box 7066, Northridge, Calif. 91327-7066. Indicate a preference for a salmon or prime rib entree. For more information, e-mail Embree at [email protected].

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