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Here's your direct line to Citizens insurance

For the thousands of local Citizens Property Insurance Corp. policyholders facing skyrocketing rates, a rare opportunity to directly address chairman Bruce Douglas and other company officials will occur today in New Port Richey.

At the invitation of state Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, whose district includes part of west Citrus County, Douglas will appear for a freewheeling town hall meeting at Spartan Manor, 6121 Massachusetts Ave.

The meeting is scheduled for five hours beginning at 10 a.m. because of the large crowd that is expected. Doors open at 9 a.m.

Organizers said they hope residents will depart after speaking and listening to their response so that additional policyholders can enter the meeting room.

Fasano said the meeting comes as the result of a phone call from Douglas complaining about the criticism the lawmaker has laid on the beleaguered state-run insurer of last resort.

"My hope is that residents along with representatives of Citizens, the Office of Insurance Regulation and hopefully some of my colleagues will become more aware of the crisis we have here as the result of this meeting," Fasano said.

"There are some in Tallahassee that have not grasped the crisis."