Speaker-in-Waiting Weatherford Among 12 to Watch in 2012

Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, Florida’s House speaker-in-waiting, as he’s addressed by Governing magazine, was listed as one of the 12 state legislators to watch in 2012 by the Washington, D.C.-based magazine.

“The 50 state legislatures have a lot of talent, but these 12 individuals are ones to watch,” the magazine states.

The magazine named six Democrats and six Republicans. Weatherford is the only Floridian on the list.

The magazine’s description of Weatherford:

“Representative Will Weatherford is the official speaker-in-waiting in the GOP-dominated Florida House, with a term that would start after the 2012 elections.

“Weatherford is one of nine siblings. His brother Drew was a star quarterback at Florida State, and his father-in-law, Allan Bense, served as House speaker in Tallahassee.

“Elected to the House in 2006, Weatherford chairs the Redistricting Committee and serves on the influential Rules and Calendar Council. “'He is young, full of energy and unafraid to tackle the tough issues,'” says University of South Florida political scientist Susan MacManus. “'Obviously, he is well-served by his father-in-law’s advice on what it takes to get and maintain respect from fellow legislators and the public at large, but his gut instincts on what matters to the people in his district appear to be well above average.

“GOP state Representative Gary Aubuchon told the St. Petersburg Times, 'If there is such a thing as a natural-born leader, Will Weatherford is it.'”

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