Prominent leaders gather to discuss economic answers
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 business bailouts. It's scheduled for Wednesday from 1 p.m. 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."
For more information, call (813) 868-3100, ext. 118, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two hats in ring for District 60 House seat
Republican Shawn Harrison has announced his plans to enter the race for the Florida House of Representatives District 60 seat.
Republican Curtis Stokes, who heads the Hillsborough chapter of the NAACP, says he also will run for the seat.
Ed Homan now holds that post, but is term-limited out of the 2010 race.
Harrison, an attorney, lives in New Tampa and represented the area on Tampa City Council for eight years. He lost election to a citywide seat in 2007 to south Tampa Democrat Mary Mulhern.
While on the council, he helped lead the push to reduce Tampa's property tax rate for the first time in nearly 20 years, and created the city's Faith Based Initiatives Program. Gov. Charlie Crist appointed him in 2007 to serve on the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority.
Stokes, a banker, said he wants to go to Tallahassee to help improve Florida's economy and education system. This will be Stokes' second run for elected office. He made a failed bid for a Tampa City Council seat in 2003.
Iorio by the numbers
A new poll conducted by Strategic Vision shows Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio relatively weak in a Democratic primary for Mel Martinez's U.S. Senate seat against Ron Klein, Kendrick Meek and Dan Gelber. But she's the strongest of the Dems when put head to head against Republicans — including Charlie Crist.
The poll surveyed 1,200 likely voters in Florida on Feb. 6-8. Check it out at www.strategicvision.biz/political/results.htm.