Keynote Speaker, ABC Luncheon Tuesday, May 16

Jake Tapper

ABC Luncheon & Keynote Speaker -- Tues., May 16, 11:20-1pm

Tapper is the hugely-influential and award-winning journalist and author, and Chief CNN Washington Correspondent and Anchor. Tapper has been recognized for being a fair and balanced commentator and critic whose unbiased reporting makes him an "equal opportunity skeptic--confronting Democratic politicians just as toughly as he would Republican ones." Likeable, consistent, and up-to-the-minute, Tapper's no-spin commentary will make you think while keeping you entertained.

General Session Speakers, Wednesday, May 17

Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26)

Born to Cuban exiles that fled Fidel Castro’s regime in the 1960s, Carlos Curbelo is a father, husband and former small business owner who has dedicated his life to serving his South Florida neighbors.

Carlos grew up in Miami and attended John G. DuPuis Elementary and Belen Jesuit Preparatory School before graduating from the University of Miami with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.

After graduation, Carlos started his own public and media relations firm, where he would spend the next twelve years learning firsthand of the struggles small business owners face across the country. While his business continued to grow, Carlos knew he wanted to give back to his community, and in 2002 he co-founded Centre Court Charities, a non-profit organization that runs basketball leagues for South Florida high school students during the summer months.

Carlos jumped into public service in 2009 when he was named State Director for U.S. Senator George LeMieux and took responsibility for overseeing staff in seven offices throughout the state while also advising the Senator on Latin-American policy and Hispanic issues. Shortly after, Carlos was appointed to the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), a group of community leaders tasked with prioritizing local transportation and infrastructure projects.

In 2010, Carlos was elected to the Miami-Dade County School Board, which oversees the fourth largest school district in the country at the time. Together with his board colleagues, Carlos was part of a historic effort to improve the quality of education and put students and teachers first, resulting in major gains in student performance and graduation rates.

Carlos was elected to represent the people of Florida’s 26th Congressional District in 2014. During his first term, Carlos fought for common sense solutions and worked with Republicans and Democrats to improve the quality of life for the people of South Florida.

Carlos was reelected in 2016 and is now in his second term and serving on the prestigious House Committee on Ways and Means, which is taking the lead on tax reform.

Carlos lives in Kendall with his wife Cecilia and their daughters Sylvie and Carolina.

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL-13)

Rodney Davis was recently sworn into his third term in Congress serving the 13th District of Illinois, a 14-county district covering both urban and rural areas of Central and Southwestern Illinois. Prior to being elected, Rodney served as Projects Director for Congressman John Shimkus (IL-15) for 16 years helping Illinois citizens and communities cut through government red tape and secure federal funding.

For the 115th Congress, Rodney serves on the House Agriculture Committee, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the House Administration Committee.  He has also been appointed to serve as the Chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research.

Rodney has established himself as an effective lawmaker who is able to work with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass legislation. Serving on both the House Agriculture Committee and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has allowed Rodney to be a leader on issues essential to commerce in Illinois.

Rodney’s work on the Farm Bill helped Congress produce a five-year bill that provides certainty to our farmers, strengthens crop insurance and cuts $23 billion in spending. Additionally, Rodney led the way to ensure farmers, who understand agriculture better than anyone, have a seat at the table when the EPA creates new rules and regulations impacting the agriculture industry.

While working to reform the Water Resources and Development Act, Rodney was successful in including language that allows the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to partner with private businesses to complete projects needed to improve our waterways. This initiative and other streamlining provisions to cut the approval process for projects from 15 years to 3 years will save millions of taxpayer dollars and significantly improve our nation’s ability to move goods and products to market.

Rodney has demonstrated his ability to lead even in a divided government. The Hire More Heroes Act, his bill to help small businesses hire more of our nation’s veterans by rolling back Obamacare, overwhelmingly passed the House with more than 400 supporting votes and was signed into law in July 2015. Rodney has worked with his colleagues to ensure a more efficient, effective government for generations to come.

Rodney resides in Taylorville with his wife, Shannon, and their three children, Toryn, Clark and Griffin.

Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN)

 Senator Joe Donnelly represents the State of Indiana in the U.S. Senate. Previously, he served the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana in the House of Representatives, and was first elected in 2006. After being reelected to the House in 2008 and 2010, he was elected to the Senate in 2012.

In the Senate, he serves on the Armed Services Committee, Banking Committee, Agriculture Committee, and Aging Committee.  In the Armed Services Committee, he serves as the Ranking Member of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee and on the Airland and Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittees. On the Agriculture Committee, he serves on the following subcommittees: Commodities, Markets, Trade and Risk Management, on which he serves as Ranking Member; Jobs, Rural Development and Energy; and Livestock, Marketing and Agriculture Security. On the Banking Committee, he serves as Ranking Member on the National Security and International Trade and Finance subcommittee and on the Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection subcommittee and the Economic Policy subcommittee.

Prior to serving in Congress, Joe helped run a small business in Mishawaka. As a result of this firsthand experience, Joe understands the unique challenges that business owners face today.  Joe also practiced law in South Bend. Joe previously worked with both Democrats and Republicans to ensure fair and accurate election results by serving on the Indiana State Election Board from 1988 to 1989. Additionally, he was a member of the School Board for Mishawaka Marian High School from 1997 to 2001, serving as President during the 2000 to 2001 term.

Joe lives with his wife Jill in north central Indiana.

Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL-21)

Lois Frankel, who serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Boating Caucus, is an experienced public servant with a strong record of bringing jobs and opportunity to South Florida. After serving 14 years in the Florida state legislature, including as the first woman Democratic Minority Leader, Lois became Mayor of West Palm Beach in 2003, where she served for eight years. Lois was first elected November 6, 2012 to represent Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, which stretches from Riviera Beach in Palm Beach County to Ft. Lauderdale and Plantation in Broward County. She was the first woman to represent Florida’s 22nd congressional district. In 2016, Lois was re-elected to represent the newly drawn 21st District of Florida, which covers Palm Beach County. She was also elected as Co-Chair of the Congressional Women’s Caucus for the 115th Congress. Lois serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure and Foreign Affairs Committees.

As a Member of Congress, Lois has continued her record as a champion for seniors, families, veterans and small businesses. Additionally, she remains staunchly committed to women’s equality and access to health care. In her first year of office, Lois helped to pass the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, worked to bring justice to victims of military sexual assault, and brought community leaders together to help address the serious issue of human trafficking in the South Florida community. Lois is a strong supporter of the Democratic Women’s Economic Agenda, which includes guaranteeing equal pay for women, raising the minimum wage, and giving families access to affordable child care and retirement security. She is the Vice Chair of the Congressional Women’s Caucus and is a proud member of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus. 

Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA-3)

John Garamendi joined the U.S. House of Representatives on November 5, 2009. He brings nearly four decades of public service to the House Armed Services and Transportation & Infrastructure committees. He has been a tireless proponent of job creation, quality and affordable health care, education, environmental protection, and scientific research, while always working to ensure the stability and success of the state he has always called home.

As California’s 46th Lieutenant Governor, John was Chair of the Commission for Economic Development, where he transformed this important body into a powerhouse to advocate for workforce development, vocational education, and research. As a Regent of the University of California and Trustee for the California State University System, he fought to hold the line on student fee increases and excessive administrator salaries. As Chair of the California State Lands Commission, he led the fight against new offshore oil drilling.

John was elected to the California legislature in 1974, where he served for 16 years, attaining the position of Senate Majority Leader. His laws established California’s emergency medical system, expanded community health clinics, created a work-oriented welfare program, protected Lake Tahoe and Mono Lakes, and developed an overall state agenda for competitiveness and scientific advancement. He authored the Senior Center Bond Act and a proposition that brought $18 billion to public transit and highways.

In 1991, John became California’s Insurance Commissioner. He successfully implemented Proposition 103, reforming the auto and homeowner insurance industry. He delivered over $1 billion in rebates to insurance consumers and lowered homeowner and auto insurance rates, saving consumers over $24 billion. Under his leadership the Department protected homeowners devastated by the Oakland Hills Fire, forcing insurers to fully pay for rebuilding. His Department earned a reputation as the best consumer protection agency in the nation.

In 1995, President Bill Clinton appointed John as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Interior Department. He spearheaded efforts to resolve water disputes in California and to protect the Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta. He negotiated the purchase of the Headwaters Forest, coordinated research on global warming, and established habitat conservation plans in California.

Reelected California’s Insurance Commissioner in 2002, John set about rebuilding the Department. His work culminated in new laws that led to a 58% reduction in workers compensation costs. His Home Owners Bill of Rights added protections for homeowners and reduced their premiums by over $500 million. He reestablished an aggressive anti-fraud task force, sponsored legislation to prevent senior insurance scams, improved protections for disabled consumers, and stopped insurance brokers from overcharging business consumers. He developed a comprehensive health care report analyzing California’s health care system with 43 concrete recommendations.

One of John’s passions is a commitment to international service. He led a group of returned Peace Corps volunteers on a peace mission during the Ethiopian-Eritrea war in 1998-2000, helping to negotiate a peace treaty. He created a similar team that assisted in peace negotiations in the Congo Civil War.

Rep. Garamendi has forged a reputation as a fierce defender of consumers and a visionary, effective leader. He possesses the unique wealth of knowledge and experience necessary to tackle today’s complex challenges.

John and his wife started their married life as Peace Corps volunteers teaching and doing community development work in Ethiopia. Patti has served as Assistant Director of the Peace Corps and as a Deputy Administrator at the United States Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service. John and Patti live in Walnut Grove and have six children and ten grandchildren.

Rep. Garrett Graves (R-LA-6)

Garret Graves is a Republican Member of Congress representing Louisiana’s Sixth Congressional District – 13 parishes stretching north of Baton Rouge through the Capital Region down to Louisiana’s Bayou country. Garrett sits on the House Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure and Natural Resources.

At the start of the 115th Congress, Garret was named Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, which oversees water resources development and regulatory programs administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with other agencies and water-related programs. As Chairman, Garrett will play an expanded role in shaping legislation to limit the scope and economic damages of agency regulations, shorten the time it takes for projects to be completed and bring efficiency to how the government works.

In his position of leadership, Garret will play an important role translating the Trump Administration’s proposed Infrastructure Package into legislation in the coming years, particularly with respect to bridges, flood protection, ports, waterways and coastal restoration.

Garrett, who recently finished his second year serving in the House of Representatives, has more than 20 years of experience working on energy, infrastructure, fisheries, maritime and water resources issues.

In addition to his policy expertise and years of private sector work, he served as Louisiana’s Chairman of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) where he managed for the state one of America’s largest civil works programs in history and successfully streamlined government while boosting its productivity. Under Garrett’s tenure, Louisiana constructed more flood protection infrastructure and restored more miles of coastline than at any other period of time in the State’s history.

Garret is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he still resides with his wife Carissa and their three children.

Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ-03)

After graduating from Hofstra University, Tom MacArthur started out as an Insurance Adjuster in New York City, with an annual salary of $13,000.  In the years that followed he went on to build a successful 30-year career in the insurance industry, which culminated in serving as Chairman and CEO of York Risk Services Group, Inc. which provided insurance and managed care services, and operated mutual insurers and a reinsurer. Under Tom’s dynamic leadership, the company grew from a small local firm to a multi-national company with thousands of employees.

Tom brings experience as a limited partner in multiple private equity funds and Master Limited Partnerships. Tom recognizes the importance of all forms of capital to our economy and also brings considerable experience as a CEO and private investor in debt markets, including acquisition financing; corporate and public sector bonds; and mezzanine financing.

Following his career in the private sector, Tom also served as a local Mayor and Councilman.
Tom serves on the House Committee on Financial Services where his top priority will be reforming the National Flood Insurance Program to provide Jersey Shore residents certainty for the future.

In Congress, Tom has supported policies that spur job creation, empower individuals, provide our military the tools they need to defend our freedom in a dangerous world and honor the service of our veterans and their families when they come home.

Paul Rauch, Assistant Director, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Paul Rauch is the Assistant Director for Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service).  Paul is responsible for the administration and oversight of federal grant programs that provide over $1 billion of funding annually to help States, territories and the District of Columbia conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, their habitats, and the hunting, sport fishing and recreational boating opportunities they provide.

Previously, Paul has served as Assistant Director for Business Management and Operations for the Service.  In this role, he served as the Chief Financial Officer, Head of the Contracting Activity, Designated Safety and Health Official, and Senior Sustainability Officer, while leading the financial operations, procurement, facilities, personal property, engineering, economics and safety programs for the organization. In addition to his business management experience, Paul has a background in natural resource management and has worked in a variety of positions over his 24-year career with the Service.

Rear Admiral Paul Thomas, United States Coast Guard

Rear Admiral Paul Thomas serves as the Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy overseeing three Coast Guard directorates: Inspections and Compliance, Marine Transportation Systems, and Commercial Regulations and Standards. The programs under his leadership include: waterways management, navigation and boating safety, ports and facilities, merchant mariner credentialing, vessel documentation, marine casualty investigation, commercial vessel inspections, and port state control.

A specialist in Marine Safety, Security and Environmental Protection, he has served at the Marine Safety Center in Washington, DC; Marine Safety Office San Francisco Bay, CA; Marine Safety Detachment Port Canaveral, FL; and Marine Safety Office Jacksonville, FL. He has also served as Commanding Officer of Marine Safety Unit Galveston, TX; Commander of Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville, FL, and as the Director of Inspections and Compliance at Coast Guard Headquarters.

His other tours include Fifth Coast Guard District Chief of Staff, Executive Assistant to the Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security and Stewardship; Military Assistant to the Director of Net Assessment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense; Commanding Officer of USCGC CAPE ROMAIN and Operations Officer of USCGC BLACKHAW.

Rear Admiral Thomas is a graduate of the US Coast Guard Academy and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2005 he completed a National Security Fellowship at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and in 2010 he served as a Senior Fellow to the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group (SSG XXIX).

His military awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Coast Guard Commendation Medal, Transportation 9/11 Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and the Coast Guard Achievement Medal.