Consumer advocates slam David Jolly

Matthew Weidner

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A Pinellas County Congressional district could change parties after Election Day; Republican incumbent David Jolly faces an uphill battle in the newly redrawn district against Democrat Charlie Crist. The district now has more Democrats. Tuesday morning in downtown St. Petersburg, critics of Congress member Jolly tried to paint him as anti-consumer. Democratic State Representative Dwight Dudley says Jolly is too cozy with big business like Duke Energy.

“Working Floridians are struggling enough to make ends meet, without greedy utility companies swindling them, month after month.

“David Jolly took thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Duke Energy and has stood by silently, while they overcharge consumers. David Jolly is comfortable with being in the pocket of Duke Energy. This is why he hasn’t spoken up for consumers. His silence, in the face of such an outrage, is alarming.”

The press conference was organized by the For Our Future Fund and held in Williams Park, across the street from Duke’s St. Petersburg offices.

Vince Cocks is the manager of a small business in Pinellas.

“This is unconscionable. Duke Energy, right across the street from here, is ripping off families and Representative Jolly is letting them get away with it.”

Consumer rights attorney Matthew Weidner held up his power bill from Duke and criticized charges for things like a nuclear power plant that will never be built.

Duke Energy

Duke Energy St. Petersburg offices. By Seán Kinane / WMNF News (25 Oct. 2016).

“Pull your power bill and recognize that every single month, when you make your energy payment to a company like Duke Energy, what you’re doing is supporting the improper activities of Duke Energy, who are making campaign contributions to people like David Jolly, who are then using it to support anti-consumer activities.

“Duke Energy is writing campaign contributions to David Jolly and they’re using that money to support anti-consumer legislation and anti-consumer amendments like Amendment 1.”

Jolly Crist Congress

Republican David Jolly (left) and Democrat Charlie Crist. By Seán Kinane / WMNF News.

The Center for Responsive Politics website documents three outside groups are spending more than 2 and a half million dollars to defeat Jolly. Most of that comes from groups connected to the Democratic Party, but the League of Conservation Voters committed more than 200 thousand dollars within the in the last week to defeat Jolly. According to that website Jolly’s only SuperPAC support was about 8 thousand dollars form People for Pinellas, though Jolly has raised a total of nearly 3 and a half million dollars.

The David Jolly campaign did not respond to WMNF’s interview request by air time.

Watch the press conference: