On Friday, February 25, 2011, the Marco Town Hall Speaker Series was launched with the 43rd governor of Florida as guest speaker. Jeb Bush, a member of the distinguished Bush political family, was introduced by Rick Borman, President and Producer of the Series, who thanked the audience for its enthusiastic response. More than 500 attendees filled the ballroom at the Marco Island Marriott Resort and following a brief update on the Bush family, Governor Bush presented an articulate commentary on the fiscal status of the country and four specific areas where revised and forward looking strategies could have a favorable impact on our economy.
He described his first job after college with a Texas bank where he helped to create country risk profiles which were used to determine if an applicant country was credit worthy, He commented, “today, the US would not qualify.” Due to our unsustainable spending, “there will be a judgment day.”
The Governor identified energy resources already known to exist in this country, such as natural gas, which could be an alternative to our dependency on oil from foreign powers, some of whom are hostile to us. He questioned why it takes 18 years to obtain approvals and build a nuclear power plant. Nuclear energy can be our future if we revise regulations which hamper progress.
He recommended significant changes to immigration laws, upgrading government regulations to make them pertinent to 21st century investment and innovation. In education he advocates being able to fire “bad teachers” and referred to the gains in reading in Florida elementary schools during his administration. In 1997 Florida was 29th out of 31 in 4th grade reading. Now Florida is 6th out of 56.
Governor Bush’s talk was followed by Q & A with Neal Boortz, radio talk show host, who moderated the audience’s previously submitted questions. Iberia Bank sponsored the inaugural address and Rick Borman promises more speakers of national and international note for the 2012 Series. Condoleeza Rice is the first announced speaker for next Season.