Property insurance, Disney district dissolution dominate HD 45 debate
Carolina Amesty and Allie Braswell attend a Tiger Bay debate on Oct. 3. Photo by Jacob Ogles.

Amesty Braswell
Carolina Amesty and Allie Braswell faced off in front of a Tiger Bay audience.

With power trucks and flood reports still impacting Central Florida, candidates in House District 45 still showed up for a debate. Questions about homeowners insurance opened a Tiger Bay of Central Florida event, with Republican Carolina Amesty and Democrat Allie Braswell taking significantly different approaches to the crisis.

The matter held particular weight as thousands in the district make claims over damage caused by wind and storm flooding from Hurricane Ian.

Amesty, who won the Republican Primary in the swing district, said false claims created an environment where insurers continue to pull out of the state.

“The way to ensure that we care for our community and to fight back against this insurance crisis is to ensure that all these claims that are happening right now are actually true and reasonable,” she said.

The Republican said a top priority in the Legislative Session in March must be tackling insurance in the state, and she remained confident the Legislature will find a solution.

Braswell, the Democrat running for the open seat, expressed frustration that the Legislature hasn’t been able to find any resolution even after insurance loomed large the last two Sessions and during a Special Session this year.

He said one major problem is a failure to bring all stakeholders, including plaintiff lawyers, roofers and homeowners, into the conversation.

“It’s a shame that going into the hurricane, several people found that their insurance was canceled,” he said. “Nobody talked to homeowners. We’ve got to get insurance companies to get out of the deny-first mentality that leads to litigation. We’ve also got to get out of the fraudulent practices that have led to excessive litigation, and when a roof that would cost $20,000 now costs $80,000.”

The debate covered a number of other issues, including some hot-button topics of the year and others more personal, related to the candidates themselves. Amesty hammered Braswell for having four bankruptcies on his record.

“My opponent does not have the facts to talk about managing a balanced budget,” she said. “The only law and regulation for a state Representative is to pass a balanced budget. When you can’t pass a balanced budget in your life and you file for four bankruptcies, you are not competent to file a balanced budget and to represent one of the most influential districts in our state.”

Braswell said he’s been successful in the business world since and is grateful to live in a country that allows entrepreneurs second chances.

“I’ve had four bankruptcies. That means I went out and tried four times to go out and build something in this country,” he said. “Ninety-five percent of small businesses fail within the first year. When we’re throwing and casting shadows upon my financial history, I’m in this country where we bounce back. But we have legal actions, and the party that she represents represented and elected a President who has had multiple bankruptcies.”

In a district where Walt Disney World remains the largest employer, the candidates also discussed a law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and pushed by Republicans in the Legislature to eliminate the Reedy Creek Improvement District. A lobbyist for Disney sat in the crowd as the HD 45 debate unfolded.

Lawmakers said they filed the legislation because of Disney’s opposition to a controversial parental rights measure dubbed by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

Braswell said passing the bill was an attack on Disney, where he worked for years. “We don’t need to continue to try to fix things that aren’t broke,” he said. “I would not support us dissolving Reedy Creek. I would repeal it and move forward and allow it to operate as it has been.”

Amesty also said she did not support the dissolution of Disney’s district. “The importance of Disney in our district is vital. It creates job growth,” she said. “Of course, I do support parental rights in education. We need to separate both.”

She also denied estimates from local tax officials and lawmakers that dissolution will create $766 billion in tax burdens on local taxpayers.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • PeterH

    October 4, 2022 at 12:04 pm

    I’m surprised that Florida Politics isn’t warning of “out of State construction scammers” ….. these grifters sign contracts, get sizable deposits and leave town. Homeowners insurance money is flushed down the toilet.

  • Mark Higgins

    October 6, 2022 at 1:56 am

    In a previous Tiger Bay debate during the Republican primary Carolina said she was fully in favor of the Reedy Creek dissolution. She’s already flip flopping??! Watch out everyone… she has proven she’ll do and say anything to get elected.

Comments are closed.


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