June 5, 2008
On Monday, June 2, 2008 Lieutenant Governor Jeff Kottkamp visited Jackson County to be the first guest on the weekly college cable network program, Directions, hosted by Sandy Helms, Chairman of the Jackson County Republican Party. According to Helms, "this program will explore where we are and most importantly where we are going in Jackson County, the State of Florida, and across the nation as we face the future together".
The Lt. Governor arrived at the television production studio where Royce Reagan, with CCTV 4 of Chipola, gave him an overview of the college cable network operations.
The taping of the first show was then completed. Topics of discussion included the 2008 Legislative session with a highlight on Cover Florida, the autism bill, and the H.O.P.E. Task Force recommendations.
Cover Florida is the new insurance program available to Floridians between the ages of 19 and 64 who have not had health insurance in the last 6 months. This program allows the private insurance vendors to bid on providing health care plans to these individuals. According to Lt. Governor Kottkamp there are approximately 3.8 million Floridians without health insurance. "That’s a very big market that is of obvious interest to insurance companies" said the Lt. Governor.
Helms referenced a recent Wall Street Journal article that praised Florida and Governor Crist for such an innovative approach. Cover Florida is not a government-supported health insurance initiative. The role of the state government is to facilitate the private health insurance industry’s ability to provide health plans to the uninsured.
Governor Crist recently signed the autism bill that expands the health services available to children with the ever-growing disorder. Therapy services and behavior modification will now be included in the health coverage plans for these children. Early intervention with appropriate services is essential for the children to become productive members of society.
The Home Ownership Promotes the Economy (H.O.P.E.) Task Force was created by an executive order from Governor Crist. Kottkamp served as the Chairman of the group that explored the barriers to homeownership and developed recommendations to address the barriers. The Lt. Governor explained that the Legislature adopted the recommendations and we will soon see the results of that labor.
Host Sandy Helms also included questions about the role of the Panhandle rural communities in the setting of the changing economic landscape. The Lt. Governor explained that the role of the rural counties was to prepare for the new economic opportunities by having a solid educational system that produces the type of professionals for the job market that will be available in the rural areas.
After taping of the show, the Lt. Governor was greeted by community leaders and citizens at a small reception hosted by Chipola College.
Dr. Gene Prough, President, introduced the Lt. Governor Kottkamp and presented him with a token of appreciation for the visit. Kottkamp gave a 20-minute address on the recent legislative session to the audience and ended by taking questions from the group. During his address, the Lt. Governor praised Representative Marti Coley for her hard work and dedication to the needs of the citizens in House District 7. Sandy Helms closed the event by thanking the Lt. Governor for his availability to Jackson County, Chipola College for hosting the reception, and the audience for attending.