Main Campus Community Greets Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio
April 03, 2009
Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio
attracted a full house with a special guest lecture held Friday
morning in Selby Auditorium at the main campus. University
President Arthur F. Kirk, Jr. introduced Mayor Iorio.
Students and faculty were eager to hear Tampa’s top-elected official’s assessment of the economy and the role of government in addressing the global financial crisis.
Tampa has a fairly diversified economy, Iorio said, with a well-respected airport, large container port, sports and tourism base, and several academic institutions. But the construction downturn has hit the area hard, she said, producing a high jobless rate, and pushing other workers into part-time jobs or cutting their paid work weeks.
Still, she said she is optimistic that the city can position itself well for further economic development when the economy recovers – as long as Tampa continues to invest in projects that upgrade basic services and make the area more attractive. “When you are down,” Iorio said, “that’s when you’ve got to keep going forward. The worst thing you can do when things get down is to shrink and curl up into that proverbial fetal position.”
She continued, saying Tampa will continue investments in improvement projects wherever possible. “Now is the time to invest in museums, in the Tampa Riverwalk, in underground piping, in water and sewer, and all these things that no one ever sees. Now is the time for us to do all of that. And that’s what we’re doing.”
Iorio told the crowd she wants to see Tampa adopt a mass-transit system and to embrace sustainability in its community planning. The Mayor, in fact, has been a public proponent of mass-transit development for some time.
In the future, Iorio said, students will be challenged to figure out how to handle the public debt load the nation is carrying.
As for her own future, Iorio deflected questions on what she would do when she leaves the office of mayor. She was sworn into her second four-year term in April 2007.
While on campus, Iorio was interviewed by the student newspaper, The Lion’s Pride.