The National Constitution Center hosts a unique public program, in partnership with the National Conference of State Legislatures, examining how states have responded to the current economic crisis.
Panelists include State Senator Don Balfour from Georgia; Joe Hackney, the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives; and David Thornburgh, Executive Director of the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute of Government.
State Senator Don Balfour was first elected to the Georgia Senate by Gwinnett County in 1992, and has served the 9th District consecutively for more than 17 years.
He is the longest serving Republican in the State Senate. Senator Balfour is Chairman of the powerful Senate Rules Committee. In addition, he serves on the Appropriations Committee, Education and Youth Committee, and the Health and Human Services Committee. He is an executive with the Waffle House, Inc., and has worked for them for over 25 years.
He serves on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. Senator Balfour was elected President of the National Conference of State Legislatures and is the first legislator from Georgia to hold the position of NCSL President since it was founded in 1975.
Tom Ferrick Jr.
Tom Ferrick Jr. is a journalist with nearly 40 years of experience in covering government and politics, most of it with the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Ferrick has covered local, state and national politics. His assignments have included stints as City Hall Bureau chief in Philadelphia and, for seven years, as legislative and state government reporter in Harrisburg. More recently, he served for nine years as Metro columnist for the Inquirer.
Ferrick's work has been recognized with a number of local and national journalism awards. In 2008, he was recipient of the fifth annual Hal Hovey Award, presented by Governing Magazine and Stateline.org for outstanding journalistic coverage of state and local government.
State Representative Joe Hackney was elected speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives in January 2007, at the start of his 14th term in office. During his tenure, Speaker Hackney served as one of the General Assembly's leading advocates for openness in government and ethics and lobbying reforms.
Prior to becoming Speaker, Hackney was House Democratic Leader for one term, House Majority Leader for one term and Speaker Pro Tempore for two terms. Speaker Hackney began his legal career as a clerk for North Carolina Supreme Court Associate Justice Frank Huskins. He worked as an assistant district attorney in Orange and Chatham counties from 1971-74, before entering politics as the campaign manager for North Carolina Congressman Ike Andrews.
Since 1974, Speaker Hackney has been a partner in the Epting & Hackney law firm in Chapel Hill, N.C. Speaker Hackney is also president of the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 2007, he received the group's Excellence in State Legislative Leadership Award, the nation's top honor for state legislators.
David B. Thornburgh
David B. Thornburgh is the Executive Director of the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute of Government and has extensive experience in the areas of regional economic development and civic affairs.
Prior to his appointment he served as a Senior Advisor to the Econsult Corporation, a Philadelphia-based regional economic consulting firm founded in 1979. In 2006 and 2007 he served as CEO of the Alliance for Regional Stewardship (ARS), a national best practice network of public and private sector leaders committed to building globally competitive regions. Prior to joining the Alliance Mr. Thornburgh served as Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Economy League (PEL) in Greater Philadelphia from 1994 to 2006.
A frequent commentator on public policy and regional development issues, Mr. Thornburgh has been quoted often in the Philadelphia newspapers and also in the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Inc. and Fortune.