Special to The Dallas Examiner
Mayor Eric Johnson on Thursday announced that he has formed the Mayor’s Task Force on COVID-19 Economic Recovery and named Richard W. Fisher as its chairman.
Fisher is Senior Advisor to Barclays and sits on the board of directors of AT&T, PepsiCo, and Tenet Healthcare. He served as the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas from 2005-2015. From 1997 to 2001, he served as Deputy U.S. Trade Representative with the rank of U.S. Ambassador. He is a first-generation American and is fluent in Spanish and English.
“I am honored that Mayor Johnson asked me to take on this crucial role,” Fisher said. “Dallas is a city of doers. We never shy from a complex task. Until COVID-19 raised its ugly head, we led the nation in economic expansion and job creation. Like all cities in the U.S., we have suffered a setback as we work to contain and defeat the virus. It is important that we rapidly get our economic and job-creating muscle back again. We are well positioned to do so and well suited to lead the country in economic recovery.”
Johnson created two ad hoc Dallas City Council committees to focus on local government policies in response to COVID-19’s spread, but the task force will explore solutions beyond the scope of the city government.
The task force is expected to assess strategies to boost vital economic sectors in Dallas. These include – but are not limited to – small businesses, financial institutions, major corporations, the service industry, nonprofits, the medical community, logistics companies, transportation and infrastructure entities and educational institutions.
Johnson will serve as a member of the task force. As the city’s emergency management director, a position designated to him by state law, he declared a local state of disaster on March 12. Under the authority granted by the declaration, he has enacted emergency regulations in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Today, we are sharing in sacrifice and economic pain as we work to slow COVID-19’s spread. And we must remain focused and steadfast in our commitment to flattening the curve,” Johnson said. “But this will end, and when it does, we must be prepared to revitalize the Dallas economy as quickly as possible.”
Johnson said Fisher is “an ideal fit” to lead the task force.
“His government experience, his leadership as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, his deep understanding of trade and international affairs, and his management and communication skills will serve the city of Dallas extraordinarily well in its time of need,” Johnson said.
Fisher plans to begin work immediately to assemble the task force.
In addition, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Adam McGough and Council member Casey Thomas will serve as the city’s inaugural representatives on the task force.
McGough chairs the Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19 Human and Social Recovery and Assistance.
“I am looking forward to serving Dallas in this new role, and I am eager to work on what will be the greatest economic recovery in the history of our city. We have difficult times ahead, but I believe in the resilience and the innovation of the people of Dallas, and I am confident that we will bounce back,” McGough said. “I appreciate Mayor Johnson’s confidence in me, and I am ready to get to work with what I know will be an incredible group of leaders.”
Thomas chairs the Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19 Economic Recovery and Assistance.
“I want to thank Mayor Johnson for his foresight in pushing for economic recovery plans now and for entrusting me with this position,” Thomas said. “I am excited to work with Ambassador Fisher and the exceptional minds he will bring together to lift up our communities in an equitable and people-driven way.”