A panel of experts on fiscal issues will discuss solutions to the rapidly growing federal debt at a forum at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg on Tuesday evening, April 2. The panel will be joined by former U.S. Senator Mel Martinez at a breakfast briefing Wednesday, April 3 in Tampa.
Speakers who will appear in both programs are Jim Davis, a former U.S. House member from Florida; Paul D. Hernandez, a member of the Hialeah, Florida city council; Paul Stebbins, executive chairman of the Board of World Fuel Services Corporation, and Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby.
Former Senator Martinez is currently chairman of Southeast and Latin America for JPMorgan Chase & Co. and chairman of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. He is also co-chair of the Florida steering committee for the Campaign to Fix the Debt.
Tuesday evening’s program is entitled “Fix the Debt: Why it Matters.” Wednesday’s event, hosted by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Tampa Bay, is called “Solving the Federal Debt Crisis: How Sequestration Impacts Small Businesses and How to Fix the Debt.”
Both programs are co-sponsored by the Campaign to Fix the Debt and The Concord Coalition, two non-partisan organizations that work in Washington and around the country to help elected officials and the American public better understand the need for comprehensive fiscal reforms to put the government on a more responsible path. Davis, Hernandez and Stebbins all serve on the Florida steering committee for Fix the Debt.
The discussions at this week’s programs will include the need for reforms in the federal entitlement programs, cuts in other domestic spending programs as well as the defense budget, improvements in the health care system and significant changes in the tax code. As the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and other bipartisan organizations have shown, such a broad approach can curb the rapid growth in the country’s debt and eventually stabilize it.
The speakers will also discuss the importance of bipartisan cooperation and the need to simultaneously address short-term economic concerns and longer-term fiscal challenges. For more background on these challenges, see fixthedebt.org and concordcoalition.org.
Fix the Debt: Why it Matters
WHAT: Public forum
WHEN: 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 2
WHERE: Fox Hall, Eckerd College, 4200 54th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, Fla. 33711
Solving the Federal Debt Crisis: How Sequestration Impacts Small Businesses and How to Fix the Debt
WHAT: Breakfast briefing hosted by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Tampa Bay
WHEN: 8 a.m. Wednesday, April 3
WHERE: Columbia Restaurant, 2117 E. 7th Avenue, Tampa, Fla. 33605
Mel Martinez, a former U.S. senator from Florida, is co-chair of the Florida steering committee for the Campaign to Fix the Debt. He is chairman of Southeast and Latin America for JPMorgan Chase & Co. and chairman of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. Martinez serves on JPMorgan Chase's Executive Committee, and as chairman of the foundation, oversees and coordinates JPMorgan Chase's global strategy and efforts in philanthropy and charitable giving. (He will speak at the April 3 program only.)
Jim Davis, a member of Holland & Knight's Public Policy & Regulation Group, served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1997 to 2007, representing the City of Tampa and portions of St. Petersburg, Bradenton and Hillsborough County. He also served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1988 to 1996, and was the majority leader in 1995 and 1996. Davis is a member of Fix the Debt’s state steering committee.
Paul B. Hernandez serves as a councilman in the City of Hialeah. Prior to holding public office, he worked as an aide to two Miami-Dade County Commissioners. After nearly a year as a commissioner for the Hialeah Housing Authority, Hernandez was chosen by the mayor and City Council to fill a vacancy on the council. In 2011 voters elected Hernandez to the council. He serves on Fix the Debt’s state steering committee.
Paul Stebbins is executive chairman of the board of World Fuel Services Corporation and has been an executive and director of the company since 1995. Before joining the company, he was a co-founder of Trans-Tec Services, Inc., a global marine fuel services company acquired by World Fuel in 1995. Stebbins is also a director of First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) and a member of the state steering committee for Fix the Debt.
Robert L. Bixby is executive director of The Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan organization that encourages fiscal responsibility in Washington and helps educate the public about the federal budget and the importance of protecting our children and future generations from excessive government debt. He speaks around the country on the nation’s fiscal challenges and possible solutions to them.
About the Host
Robert L. Bixby is executive director of The Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan organization that encourages fiscal responsibility in Washington and helps educate the public about the federal budget and the need to protect our children and future generations from excessive government debt.
Bixby joined Concord in 1992 and served in several positions, including policy director and national field director, before being named executive director in 1999. He has served as a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force (the Domenici-Rivlin commission), which produced a model plan for comprehensive fiscal reform.
He frequently speaks around the country on the nation’s fiscal challenges and possible bipartisan solutions, including greater government efficiency, tax reform and improvements in the entitlement program. He has testified at congressional hearings and been interviewed by news organizations around the country. Bixby has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN and Fox News.
He and The Concord Coalition’s “Fiscal Wake-Up Tour” were also featured prominently in the critically-acclaimed documentary film “I.O.U.S.A.”
Bixby has a bachelor's degree in political science from American University, a juris doctorate from George Mason University School of Law, and a master's degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Before joining Concord, he practiced law and served as the chief staff attorney of the Court of Appeals of Virginia.