Recently I wrote about my participation in child welfare in my home community of Miami-Dade County. Actually, my involvement extends to the state of Florida level as I am a member of the Task Force on Fostering Success that advises George Sheldon, Secretary of the Department of Children & Families, on statewide issues related to child welfare. We had a task force meeting in Tampa last week. I’m pleased to note that the discussion about one of the many thorny issues we wrestled with at the meeting – collection, storage and use of DNA samples from foster children – was moderated by Mike Seigel, my law school roommate and current Professor of Law at the University of Florida. It was great to be able to connect with a friend of nearly 30 years for such a cause.
The point of this blog however is to briefly describe my other “community” involvement besides child welfare. This is a national level participation in a wonderful group of dedicated Americans who want to galvanize a comprehensive effort to improve the energy security of the United States. I am a member of the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC) that is composed of 10 to 12 business CEO’s led by Fred Smith, the legendary founder and leader of FedEx, and eight to 10 retired top military officers led by another legend, General P.X. Kelley, who was Commandant of the Marine Corps. The ESLC is an affiliate of a policy and advocacy group known as Securing America’s Future Energy or S.A.F.E. which is organized and overseen by Robbie Diamond.
While there are many groups involved in various aspects of energy policy, the ESLC has been given credit for its role in the passage of the Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007 that mandates among other things strengthened and reformed vehicle efficiency standards. We are once again centrally involved in the current dialogue in Congress about the right next steps to take to reduce the degree of our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. This necessarily involves us in an array of issues including electrification of short haul road transportation, basic research into opportunities from battery life to third generation renewables to carbon capture and storage, increase of domestic supply of oil and natural gas, environmental protection, myriad tax policy questions and much more.
Why? Because even as Royal Caribbean International goes “global”, the U.S. remains our most significant market and therefore the long-term health and security of this country is important to me both as a business leader and a citizen. The ESLC is able to bring leaders of Congress together across party lines in an era where that is often impossible to achieve. Before 2007, no meaningful legislation in this area had been passed in 32 years. It is a privilege to serve with my fellow Council members to reduce our country’s vulnerability in such a crucial area.