At roughly 3:30 p.m. yesterday, hundreds of folks from Pasco and Hernando County descended on downtown Tampa for one purpose. They were fighting for their financial future; they were fighting to keep their homes.

I want to express my gratitude to everyone who attended the statewide rate hearing in Tampa yesterday, and I particularly want to thank the following elected officials who participated in yesterday’s activities:

Senator Paula Dockery
Senator Mike Fasano
Senator Rhonda Storms
Representative Richard Corcoran
Representative Tom Goodson
Representative Rick Kriseman
Representative Darryl Rouson
Representative Jimmie Smith

Each of these officials offered powerful words in opposition to Citizens Property Insurance Company’s proposed sinkhole rate hike. These officials stood in solidarity with hundreds of citizens who came to speak out against the proposed rate hike. I also want to thank the media for giving this effort the coverage it deserved. Stories about the proposed rate hike dominated the news from early yesterday morning until the late last night.

Insurance Consumer Advocate Robin Westscott is also to be commended for her strong comments at the rate hearing. Not only did she stress the need to “phase in” whatever increases may be needed, she disagreed with the underlying rate increase request. She did an excellent job for the people of Florida.

While these officials spoke eloquently about the financial devastation such a drastic rate increase would bring, the most passionate and effective testimony came from hundreds of ordinary citizens who told the commission how these rate hikes would affect their lives. They reminded the commission that this is not simply about numbers on a page – they are real people already struggling to stay afloat in a very real economic crisis.

I can tell you firsthand that it was pretty powerful stuff.

For those of you who were unable to attend the hearing, I put together a quick summary of the news coverage throughout the day:

We need to continue this momentum . More than anything else, we need to remember our duty to fight for those most vulnerable and to hold insurance companies and the state accountable. This is a fight that is by no means finished – Let’s keep it up.