In a world of polemical politics, two-term Florida Governor Jeb Bush stands out as man above the fray.
Bush has said upon leaving office, “My gift is that we’ve shown that governors can be activists, they can be reformers, if they want to.” Attack the status quo he did, using political capital gained through strong popularity and family connections, and did so according to his own principles. Although a Republican himself, during his brother, G.W’s presidential term, Jeb Bush firmly opposed several attempts by the President’s administration to institute offshore drilling on Florida’s coast, citing both environmental and state commercial interests in his refusal. Bush took on reducing public sector spending and education reform initiatives and saw the state through a record eight hurricanes, several of which devastated areas of Florida.
Since leaving office, Jeb Bush has been acting behind the scenes, helping Senator-elect Marco Rubio and deflecting 2012 presidential run rumors. Yet his own public message seems to reflect his ‘get it done’ governing style over toeing the party line. Speaking of the country’s current financial and political woes Bush has said, “The issue for me is what we do now…who cares who’s to blame?”
On February 25 Jeb Bush will be making a stop on Marco Island, as the inaugural speaker for the Marco Town Hall Speaker Series. The speaker series itself is a new non-profit initiative on the island. It has its origins in the Naples Town Hall Speaker Series, which reached a 28-year milestone in 2010, and is celebrating a sold-out season with Sarah Palin, Anderson Cooper, Rudy Giuliani and Frank Abagnale presenting to Naples audiences.
“What’s unique about Town Hall is that it embodies all the elements of a good evening. People come to have dinner with their friends, be entertained and intellectually challenged, and it’s the opportunity to look into the eyes and shake hands with a public figure you’ve always admired,” says Town Hall president Rick Borman.
It’s exciting, says Borman, to watch a series grow from an idea into a tangible event. “It’s something that’s going to perpetuate after I’m gone.” Naples Town Hall Speaker Series began when much of Naples was still a field. The Borman family slowly nurtured it into a program of over 1,000 subscribers today.
Because Marco Island has a well-educated population with a strong interest in the arts, Borman was attracted to the idea that a Marco-centric program could grow within the community. Like Naples, the Marco Town Hall Speaker Series goes beyond the lecture podium with high production values, meet and greet events with the speaker and an audience-driven, moderated question and answer session. “I believe the community has the potential to embrace a speaker series if it’s top-notch,” adds Borman.
The most anticipated part of the evening for Borman will be the question and answer session. Local media personality, Don Farmer, will moderate as Gov. Bush spends 45 minutes responding to questions submitted by Town Hall participants. This is the part of show where leading figures often drop the carefully honed ‘public’ persona and let their true colors shine.
“The question and answer session is something I’m looking forward to, personally. Jeb Bush is a great public speaker to begin with, and when you add this unscripted element which is our signature moderated Q&A, it’s just great fun,” says Borman.
For information on Marco Town Hall Speaker Series or to purchase tickets, go to www.marcotownhall.org or call 239-389-4800.