Have you ever visited one on one with an elected legislator for more than 30 minutes? I have a number of times, and the results are mixed. Yesterday, I had a surprisingly pleasant and rewarding experience talking with Mike Fasano, a Florida Senator.
One of the sad realities about elected legislators is that some are simply not able to understand issues. Like deer in headlights, some have agendas but little ability to logically comprehend competing issues and analyze the crucial impact laws will have if not drafted precisely. Happily, Mike Fasano is not one of those legislators.
You should never pre-judge a person’s ability to reason by the lack of formal education. Mike Fasano did not graduate from a traditional high school, due to problems after the death of his father. His very humble background is apparent in his concern for those that are less affluent. Many of his constituents are retired and on fixed incomes. When you consider his background and the demographics of his electorate, it is no wonder his primary insurance concern is that it is affordable and not a sham—meaningful insurance is necessary for the elderly and disenfranchised.
Fasano told me of a couple that had worked hard to pay off their mortgage. Unfortunately, they let their insurance lapse and their house suffered a severe uninsured loss. I told him that I have seen that scenario many times and that there is some value to the mortgage escrow requirements which require property owners to pay for insurance and property taxes. Some simply lose the premium or tax notices or forget to pay bills. It happens a lot more after some reach that goal of paying off the mortgage.
My impression is Senator Fasano could have been a priest or involved in some other charitable endeavor for his fellow brother and sister. He never mentioned any concern other than for the working class, the elderly, the retired, and how others in business or government could help protect them. While I have seen his contempt for others in some public hearings, in my interview with him, he expressed only interest in helping our State and its citizens and without a harsh word.
After meeting and spending time with Senator Fasano, I can appreciate why his constituents vote for him. He is dedicated to helping them and experienced enough to understand how he can help them. In the future, I expect Mike Fasano will find some other noble means to help people rather than use his talents for personal financial fortune or fame.
As am I, he is a strong supporter of Governor Charlie Crist, Senate President Jeff Atwater, and Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty. It would not surprise me to find him working in Washington, D.C. someday. Until then, I will try to provide him my understanding of insurance as he battles through those various complex issues. At least he appreciates and understands the difficulty of these issues which some of his elected colleagues simply do not.