Pledging to Continue McCollum's Fight Against Fed Health-Care Laws, Bondi Gets NFIB Backing

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: September 27, 2010 1:05 PM
Pam Bondi Closeup

Pam Bondi

The Florida chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) endorsed Republican nominee Pam Bondi for attorney general Monday morning, citing her commitment to continue a challenge launched by Attorney General Bill McCollum against President Barack Obama's new health-care laws.

“Floridians do not want and cannot afford this unconstitutional federal health-care law, which I believe is the most expensive entitled program ever created,” said Bondi. “I would be proud to pursue this lawsuit on behalf of our small-business owners, who are so essential to Florida’s economy and the future of our state."

The NFIB, which has joined McCollum and the attorneys general of 19 other states as a co-plaintiff, specifically focused on the lawsuit as one of the chief differences between Bondi and her Democratic opponent, Sen. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach.

“Florida needs an attorney general who will stand up to protect our constitutional rights,” said Bill Herrle, executive director of the state NFIB, which has 10,000 business members. “Pam Bondi has committed to continuing to challenge the constitutionality of the health-care law -- a stark contrast to her opponent Dan Gelber, who has publicly stated that, if elected, Florida will no longer be a party to the suit."

In Tallahassee to accept the endorsement, Bondi -- who was in Pensacola earlier in the month to hear the opening arguments of McCollum’s lawsuit -- said she had a “gut feeling” that the challenge would not be dismissed and that she stood squarely behind it.

“I feel very confident that the judge will not dismiss the Department of Justice’s motion to dismiss,” added Bondi.

Bondi noted that Gelber pledged, if elected, to remove Florida from the states suing the federal government over the new health-care laws.

“The lawsuit will continue without Florida in it, but Florida has taken the lead,” insisted Bondi. “I would be honored to continue with the lawsuit because I believe it to be unconstitutional.”

Bondi took aim at Gelber’s political trajectory in recent years -- serving in the House, winning a seat in the Senate in 2008, jumping in and quickly pulling out of the race for the U.S. Senate and then running for attorney general. She said the only elected office she wanted to hold was attorney general.

“This is it for me,” said Bondi. “I don’t want to be governor, I don’t want to be a congressman, I don’t want to be a senator. I don’t see this as a stepping stone.

“My opponent clearly said he wants to be governor,” she added.

Bondi addressed other issues, pledging her support for Second Amendment rights and vowing to work for businesses and consumers if elected. Asked about an appeals court in Miami ruling against the state ban of same-sex couples adopting, Bondi said, as the matter is in litigation she would not offer her personal opinion. While saying she supported merit pay for teachers and expanded educational options, including home schools and virtual education, Bondi said she thinks SB 6, a bill to reform performance pay for teachers that was vetoed by Gov. Charlie Crist, has great strengths and failings. 

Gelber unveiled his own backing on health-care on Saturday, when he announced the Florida Nurses Association (FNA) stood behind him. The FNA praised Gelber for his work fighting Medicare fraud. 

“Dan Gelber has been a longtime advocate for Florida families and our members know we can count on him to fight the rampant Medicaid fraud in Florida that is costing taxpayers billions and limiting access to quality medical care for our most vulnerable citizens,” said Andrea Gregg, president of the FNA. “Dan’s experience as a top federal prosecutor and chief investigator in the U.S. Senate has well-prepared him to fight fraud as our next attorney general, and we look forward to working with him to improve our state’s health care system.”

“Florida’s nurses do an incredible job caring for our most vulnerable citizens,” said Gelber. “Our nurses see on a daily basis how accessibility to quality medical care can make a world of difference in a person’s life, and I look forward to working with them to fight Medicaid fraud so that we can reduce costs to taxpayers and provide more Floridians with the care they need.”

 


Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.


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