Some Lee county leaders have returned from three days in snowy Washington, D.C., where they lobbied more than two-dozen members of Congress. The local people want a delay, or changes, in the flood insurance law.
"I think we made some great progress. I am cautiously optimistic about the situation," says Larry Kiker, the chairman of the Lee county commission. Kiker put together the delegation of elected officials and insurance experts, to go to Washington.
"I think we made the point that this affects all kinds of people, not just a few rich people along the coast. I have been told that more than 2-million homeowners eventually will be affected. We don't want these higher rates in flood insurance to hurt our housing market," Kiker tells WINK News.
The Biggert-Waters law has caused some flood rates to jump from 3-thousand dollars a year, to 24-thousand or more.
"We told the lawmakers or their top aides, don't take away the dreams of all the people who've moved from Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, to Florida. Those people have had a life-long dream of having a home in Florida. Don't take that away from them," says Ben Nelson, mayor of Bonita Springs, who was one of the local delegation members.
Fort Myers homeowner Tom Young agrees. He lives very near the Caloosahatchee River, and worries about surviving higher rates while on a fixed income.
"I mean, I have a pension that goes up 1 percent a year. But if you then have these rates that go up 20 to 30 percent a year or a lot more, how do you cope with that," asks Young.
The U.S. Senate has voted to delay the rate hikes for 4 years. The Southwest Floridians urged the House members to soften the impact the of law, and amend it, in far less than 4 years.
Fort Myers Beach Mayor Alan Mandel also made the trip to Washington. He says: "We showed them the actual insurance bills. They reflect these huge increases in the premiums. I would say, out of 20 to 30 people we talked with, all but one were sympathetic to our cause."