Oct 15, 2009

AHCA Director Holly Benson Resigns

TALLAHASSEE -- Former Pensacola lawmaker and Crist administration agency head Holly Benson will resign her post leading the state's Agency for Health

Care Administration.

Benson, 38, will stay on the job until Oct. 28. She said this morning it

would be more appropriate to discuss her plans after she's left her job. She

has been mentioned as a candidate for attorney general in 2010, a race that

includes Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp in the Republican primary.

In the months since her name first surfaced in that campaign, she's said she

was considering her options in the race. She continued being coy today.

"It's not really appropriate for me to discuss what I'm doing" at this time,

Benson said.

She met with Gov. Charlie Crist on Tuesday and submitted her resignation

today. With Crist, she "discussed opportunities that I had," Benson said.

Kottkamp, 48, from Cape Coral, announced his candidacy this summer. In the

just-concluded fundraising quarter he compiled $175,419 and has $169,638 on

hand in his campaign fund.

Two Democrats in the state Senate -- Dave Aronberg from Greenacres and Dan

Gelber from Miami Beach -- are slugging it out in that party's primary race.

Benson led AHCA for 18 months. Before that, she ran the state's Department

of Business and Professional Regulation, leaving her seat in the state House

representing Pensacola to join Crist's administration. Kottkamp, too, left

the House to run with Crist as his lieutenant governor in 2006.

Benson said she was happy with the efforts of her team at AHCA, the $18

billion agency that runs the state's Medicaid program that provides health

coverage to more than 2 million. The agency also licenses hospitals. She

pointed particularly to combating fraud in Medicaid.

Previously, when she was a lawmaker, Benson was a municipal-bond lawyer in


Benson represented parts of Northwest Florida. She resigned from the state

House soon after she was elected to a fourth term.