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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Local GOP leaders plan forum on economy



Developer Don Phillips, a big contributor to Republican candidates, is borrowing a page from President Obama's playbook and doing a little community organizing. He's pulled together a forum to discuss the federal economic recovery plans and financial industry bailouts. It's scheduled for Wednesday from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Tampa Port Authority.

Co-hosts include some of the area's most prominent business leaders: Don Wallace, Al Austin, Dick Beard, Blake Casper, Bing Kearney, Rhea Law, Tom Pepin and Chris Sullivan. The agenda includes remarks by Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, and panel discussions featuring Scott Brown, chief economist for Raymond James; Daniel Mitchell of the Cato Institute; Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe; and state Reps. Darryl Rouson and Kevin Ambler.

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis are scheduled to make appearances. Although most of the speakers and hosts lean to the right, Phillips says this isn't about politics, but about creating greater understanding of the economic crisis and coming up with solutions at the local level.

"Community comes first," Phillips said. "No one's coming to save us. No one's coming to explain it to us. You have people who are literally going hungry over this thing."

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[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 7:27pm]


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