Holly Benson says she wants to fight ObamaCare "and everything else that Washington is going to do to the states."

One of the measures that Benson is running on is to eliminate some state regulations that she says are unnecessary and hamper small businesses in the state.  Citing her experience at both state agencies she ran,  she says there are a lot of  little hoops "that we make business people jump through that may have been well intentioned, but really don’t help the public," and she says she's determined to figure out how to eliminate some of those provisions.

Benson visited CL's offices in Ybor City while she was making some appearances in the Tampa Bay area last Wednesday.  She spoke enthusiastically about the state's controversial experimentation with Medicaid reform, saying that "we saw substantial gains in outcome measures under Medicaid reform. " (Not everyone agrees.  The Florida Medical Association says the more-rigorous oversight under reform is leading to delays in receiving care and even blocking access for some people).

Benson doesn't break party orthodoxy on a number of issues, such as believing in Florida's current policy of banning gays from adopting  (Benson we should add was the only candidate in the race to return our original calls on soliciting  opinions on the issue - neither Kottcamp nor Bondi responded to our question).

CL asked Benson what she thought about Bill McCollum's spending $120,000 for the testimony of now disgraced anti-gay activist and "researcher" Dr. George Rekers, who advocated the state's legal position defending the ban.

Benson said that "I’m sure that General McCollum trusted his team to identify the best possible expert.  They made a mistake.  A bad mistake."  We then asked her if she were AG, would she pay any "expert" $120,000 for their testimony?

"Look, you have to be very fiscally conservative in the experts you hire," she replied.  " And so, when I was the secretary of two different agencies every time that we looked to the outside experts you had to make good value judgments about what you paid expert witnesses obviously General McCollum made that judgment.  I would make sure that we were appropriately conservative."

You can read the entire transcript of our interview with Benson here.

Although former Hillsborough County prosecutor Pam Bondi continues to win straw polls amongst GOP activists in the race for the nomination for Republican attorney general, one of her opponents, Holly Benson is conceding nothing in the battle that will be decided on August 24.

In the only state-wide poll taken on the race, Lieutenant Governor Jeff Kottcamp leads with 13 percent of the vote, followed by Bondi at 10 percent, and Benson with 5 percent.  Which means the great majority of the state voters have barely paid attention to this race, or any of the other Cabinet races.

Benson is best know as running two different state agencies under Charlie Crist's helm:  The Agency for Health Administration, and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.  Before that, she served three terms in the Florida House, representing Pensacola.

Benson says that even though she declared for the office last fall, the urgency of becoming the state's AG has only grown after Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum announced earlier this spring that he would be filing a lawsuit to try to block the health care reform legislation from taking effect in 2014, because he claims that it's individual mandate that every citizen buy health insurance is unconstitutional.

"It's going to cost taxpayers well over a billion dollars," Benson says about the cost of implementing the system in Florida.  " It’s going to cost businesses millions of dollars, it is going to wreck one of the best health care systems in the world, so the first fight this next Attorney General is going to take on is the fight against Obamacare because McCollum filed suit in Pensacola.  I’m prepared to take that fight on, and it’s important and not just for our health care system but everything else that Washington is going to do to the states."

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