Lt Gov speaks in Tampa listen10/28/09 Kate Bradshaw
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Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeff Kottkamp spoke on the economy and veterans’ issues at the Tampa Convention Center this afternoon. Kottkamp was a keynote speaker at the Service Disabled Veteran Owned and Veteran Owned Small Business Technology Conference. He told the audience, which consisted of individuals who are both veterans and small business owners, that the state has a numerous programs for group.
The Lieutenant Governor, who is running for Attorney General in 2010, gave a few concrete examples of how the state is helping veterans. These, Kottkamp said, include tax breaks for veterans with combat-related disabilities, need-based emergency financial assistance for service members and preference for veteran-owned companies for government contracts.
Kottkamp said that Florida has 257 thousand veteran-owned small businesses and that 18 thousand of those are owned by service-disabled veterans. He said that aerospace, biotechnology and renewable energy, including solar and algae, should provide opportunities for veterans as the economy recovers.
This comes one day after President Barack Obama toured the Florida Power and Light solar power facility in Arcadia and announced that he will give $200 million to FPL to install 2.6 million smart meters. Democrats have criticized Governor Charlie Crist for not meeting with Obama during his Florida visit, and accuse the governor of trying to disassociate himself from the president in order to appeal to conservatives ahead of the Republican primaries. Kottkamp, Crist’s second in command, is forging his own political campaign. And while he did not make an appearance in Arcadia either, he did acknowledge the significance of the visit.
Kottkamp is the first Lieutenant Governor of Florida to run for higher office. But the attorney general hopeful is not without controversy. Earlier this year he was criticized for using state planes to travel between Tallahassee and his Fort Myers home in 2007 and 2008. Kottkamp was one of a few state politicians who have been found to do this, and offered to reimburse the state for travel costs after the media exposed the practice. He told WMNF that he does not see any challenges in his upcoming run for attorney general.
Kottkamp will likely face Holly Benson in the Republican primaries. Benson will announce her intentions tomorrow at noon. The winner of that race will likely either face Dave Aronberg or Dave Gelber, both Democratic state senators, in the attorney general race in November of 2010.