Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Politics

Bay area business leaders look to capitalize on Republican National Convention

TAMPA — Tampa attorney Steve Burton joked that the 100-plus gathering jammed into a room at Mise en Place resembled a mosh pit.

But attendees weren't typical moshers, and the agenda was far more serious: how does Tampa Bay's business community capitalize on the upcoming Republican National Convention, the biggest-ever opportunity to trumpet the region?

As chairman of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce's RNC Task Force, Burton's goal was to bring top economic development and business leaders together to make sure they're on the same page. A who's who of power brokers at Thursday afternoon's gathering included: USF President Judy Genshaft, Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano, Progress Energy Florida CEO Vinny Dolan and RNC Host Committee chairman Al Austin.

With less than four months until the RNC arrives, event organizers are ramping up:

• Plans are gelling to partner with a global media giant to bring in CEOs from around the country for an economic summit. "If we get one corporate relocation out of this, in my mind that's a victory," RNC Host Committee president Ken Jones said.

• In addition to a media center to pitch stories to 5,000 media members, organizers are creating a studio to broadcast positive stories about the convention and the community.

• The Tampa Bay Partnership recently launched FrontRowTampaBay.com, a website it hopes becomes a portal for economic development stories touting the area.

Most speakers were largely glowing about the collaborative efforts so far. M.E. Wilson Company president Guy King called concerns that local economic development groups don't work well together "untrue" and "water under the bridge."

But Chris Steinocher, president of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, said he's worried about repeating mistakes made during the Final Four, when visitors complained about jammed commutes between Tampa and St. Pete.

"We have to get serious, guys, about connectivity," he said. "I don't see it happening yet and I'm concerned."

Burton closed the meeting with an open agenda item he called "The ask." "While we have the RNC, some of the most powerful people in the world (will be here)," he said. "What would we want to ask for?"

Suggestions included: building light rail, replacing the Howard Frankland Bridge with a wider one allowing dedicated mass transit and wooing a five-star hotel.

Comments
Democrats jubilant, and newly confident about 2018, as Alabama delivers win on Trumpís turf

Democrats jubilant, and newly confident about 2018, as Alabama delivers win on Trumpís turf

The Democratsí seismic victory Tuesday in the unlikely political battleground of Alabama brought jubilation ó and a sudden a rush of confidence ó to a party that has been struggling to gain its footing since Donald Trump won the presidency 13 months ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

WASHINGTON ó Congressional Republicans on Tuesday rushed toward a deal on a massive tax package that would reduce the top tax rate for wealthy Americans to 37 percent and slash the corporate rate to a level slightly higher than what businesses and co...
Published: 12/12/17
Trump signs $700 billion military budget into law

Trump signs $700 billion military budget into law

WASHINGTON ó President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed into law a sweeping defense policy bill that authorizes a $700 billion budget for the military, including additional spending on missile defense programs to counter North Koreaís growing nuclear w...
Published: 12/12/17
Donald Trump Jr. demands inquiry of House Intelligence Committee leak

Donald Trump Jr. demands inquiry of House Intelligence Committee leak

WASHINGTON ó Donald Trump Jr., the presidentís eldest son, has asked the House Intelligence Committee to open an investigation into leaked information related to his closed interview with the committee last week."To maintain the credibility of the in...
Published: 12/12/17
Original Watergate lock that burglars picked open is going to auction

Original Watergate lock that burglars picked open is going to auction

WASHINGTON -ó Itís the lock that launched a two-year investigation and took down a president. And now more than four decades later ó and for a starting bid of $50,000 ó it can be a really wonky conversation piece.Nate D. Sanders Auctions will auction...
Published: 12/12/17
Democrats say Trumpís tweets about Gillibrand sexist, unsavory

Democrats say Trumpís tweets about Gillibrand sexist, unsavory

WASHINGTON ó Plowing into the sexual harassment debate in a big way, President Donald Trump laced into Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Tuesday, tweeting that the New York Democrat would come to his office "begging" for campaign contributions and "do anyth...
Published: 12/12/17
Obama, Biden and Trump make late pushes in Alabama Senate race

Obama, Biden and Trump make late pushes in Alabama Senate race

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ó National political leaders, a Hollywood actress and a retired basketball star made last-ditch efforts to woo voters in the Alabama Senate race Monday, as the candidates gave their final arguments in a pivotal special election that ...
Published: 12/12/17
PolitiFact: Looking back at the Trump teamís falsehoods of 2017

PolitiFact: Looking back at the Trump teamís falsehoods of 2017

President Donald Trump made many inaccurate statements in 2017. His White House team seems to be following in his footsteps when defending him. Some of Trumpís staffers have made the argument that it is valid to use inaccurate facts to bolster larger...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17
PolitiFact: Notable misstatements about Donald Trump from 2017

PolitiFact: Notable misstatements about Donald Trump from 2017

President Donald Trump’s words can be at odds with reality, a fact we’ve documented again and again during his first year in office. His claim that the Trump-Russia investigation is a "made-up story" earned Trump our 2017 Lie of the Year....
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17
Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority plays beat the clock on GOP tax bill

Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority plays beat the clock on GOP tax bill

TAMPA ó With the Republican tax bill poised to eliminate the opportunity, the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority on Monday said it had refinanced a big chunk of its debt to save money in the future.The authority borrowed $152 million from the bo...
Published: 12/11/17