Jeffrey Bragg, unsuccessful applicant for insurance commish, applies for PSC post
Gov. Rick Scott's top choice to become insurance commissioner, Jeffrey S. Bragg, is among the 11 candidates who have applied to become Public Service Commissioner, the powerful board that regulates utilities.
Bragg, a Palm Harbor resident and former executive director of the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Terrorism Risk Insurance Program under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, previously applied to become insurance commissioner and was the governor's top choice. But his nomination was rejected by Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, who preferred state Rep. Bill Hagar for the job, and their impasse led them to agree to an alternate, David Altmaire, a deputy insurance commissioner.
Reached by phone late Tuesday, Bragg would not say if he had been recruited for the powerful PSC post by the governor.
The post is being vacated by for the position being vacated by Lisa Edgar, the longest serving member of the PSC who confirmed Tuesday that she will not seek a fourth term to the commission. She served three four-year terms and had been appointed by Govs. Jeb Bush, Charlie Crist and Rick Scott.
The other candidates applying to fill Edgar's post include: Johnnie E. Cooper, John R. Coleman,Albert E. Martin,Dennis E. Shannon,Jeffrey S. Foster,Cynthia J. Wilson Orndoff,Donald J. Polmann,Thomas P. Brantley,Stuart W. Pollins and Todd N. Chase. No additional information was made available late Tuesday.
The Public Service Commission Nominating Council, a 12-member panel controlled by legislators, will interview the candidates and recommend three names to be submitted to the governor. Scott will then select his appointee from the list.
Times reporter Steve Bousquet contributed to this report.
Here is Edgar's statement:
TALLAHASSEE — With satisfaction in accomplishments made on behalf of Florida’s public interest, Lisa Edgar announced today that she will not seek a fourth term on the Public Service Commission (PSC). The veteran Commissioner, whose first term began January 1, 2005, intends to serve until her term ends on January 1, 2017.
“When reflecting on your career, nothing is more rewarding than feeling a sense of achievement” said Commissioner Edgar. “For the past twelve years, I’ve been honored and humbled to work on complex regulatory issues, finding ways to accomplish what’s best for the public good. I look forward to applying my regulatory and governmental experience as I pursue new endeavors and other career opportunities.”
Appointed by three different governors (Governors Bush, Crist, and Scott) for three PSC terms, Commissioner Edgar quickly rose to national prominence among her peers as an expert in regulatory policy, becoming the first Florida Commissioner to ever serve as president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). In this role, Commissioner Edgar served as the primary voice of the Association, leading NARUC in testimony before Congress and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on the state of the electric grid, its current capabilities, and planned future technological advances.
As NARUC president in 2014-2015, she leveraged the expertise of more than 200 Commissioners to examine key issues, challenges, and opportunities—for consumers, service providers and public officials—through the convergence of traditional utility services in the energy, water, and advanced communications sectors. Under her leadership, NARUC became the preeminent association of regulatory bodies across the world. Leading missions to China, Canada, and Turkey, among other countries, Edgar helped shape emerging utility regulatory policy at critical junctures in their development.
Edgar served as the PSC’s Chairman from January 2006 through 2007. She led the PSC in adopting critical measures to strengthen the state’s electric grid to better withstand severe weather events. Florida’s storm hardening rules have since become a national model for cost-effective power restoration after storms, quickly returning businesses and communities to normal. While chairman, Edgar also spearheaded one of the first net-metering policies in the country, helping diversify Florida’s energy mix and expand renewable energy sources.
Since the rule’s inception, customer-owned renewable systems in Florida have quadrupled and customer-owned generation has grown by 75 percent.
Under Edgar’s leadership, the PSC initiated automatic enrollment for the federal Link-Up Florida and Lifeline Assistance telephone discount programs, working with the Department of Children and Families, on behalf of low-income Floridians. Florida’s streamlined enrollment process became a model endorsed by the Federal Communications Commission and used by other states. As a result, the process has helped millions of low-income Floridians—as well as qualified individuals across the nation—better afford telephone service.
From January 2006 to January 2008, she was a member of the Florida Energy Commission and the Governor's Action Team on Energy and Climate Change. Recognized for her work and expertise in energy reliability, Edgar was tapped to present Florida’s Critical Energy Infrastructure in Coastal Regions to the U.S. Senate Committee on Natural Resources in 2008.
Commissioner Edgar now serves on the NARUC Committees on Electricity, Consumer Affairs, and the Task Force on Environmental Regulation and Generation, Executive Committee, and Board of Directors. She also serves on the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Advisory Council and Executive Committee, advising on research in electric generation, delivery, and use for the public’s benefit. She has also served on the Federal Communications Commission Universal Service Joint Board, working for efficient, accountable, and fiscally responsible use of universal service funds, and the U.S. Department of Transportation Technical Pipeline Safety Standards Committee.
During her career in public service, Edgar served as Deputy Secretary of Planning and Management for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) from August 1999 through January 2005. She also served as chief environmental policy analyst in the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget, as a senior cabinet aide in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as staff counsel and legislative analyst for the Florida Senate Committees on Reapportionment and Regulated Industries.
Edgar received a juris doctorate from the College of Law at Florida State University, where she also received a bachelor’s degree in political science. She is a member of the Florida Bar.