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Crist: Keep Watchdog Kelly

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By James Call

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-884984.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – Governor Charlie Crist is urging lawmakers to reappoint J.R. Kelly as public counsel to represent consumers in utility rate cases.

The governor says he is unaware of any information that should block Kelly's reappointment and is calling on lawmakers to keep Kelly as the public's watchdog on rate cases. Crist says Kelly is clearly fighting for the consumer.

"At a time when they need it the absolute most, you know, particularly in this economy to try to keep the rates down, to fight for the people, I think this man has earned additional time to serve the public because he has proven himself a true public servant."

The Legislature initially appointed Kelly as public counsel in 2007. Crist sent a letter this week to a joint legislative committee that is seeking other applicants.

Kelly recently helped persuade the Public Service Commission to approve only $75-million of a nearly $1.3-billion rate hike sought by Florida Power and Light company and just $132-million of a $500-million increase Progress Energy had proposed.