Politics

Gaetz, Weatherford: We Will Advance Conservatism in Session's Final Days

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: April 24, 2014 10:00 AM
Don Gaetz and Will Weatherford

Don Gaetz and Will Weatherford

With barely a week to go until the legislative finish line, Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Destin, and Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, pledged to continue working together in their final days in charge of their chambers.

Gaetz and Weatherford spoke at the James Madison Institute’s (JMI) annual dinner in Tallahassee Wednesday night in a question-and-answer session moderated by Bob McClure, president and CEO of JMI.

While acknowledging differences, including final debate on the budget and on giving in-state tuition to undocumented aliens, Gaetz and Weatherford insisted they are united in trying to push a conservative agenda, even if they disagree on some tactics.

Gaetz offered a sharp contrast between how Congress and the Florida Legislature are handling matters including school choice and economic issues. “In Washington, they’re trying to find which taxes to raise,” Gaetz said. “We’re trying to find which taxes to cut.”

The Senate president insisted fiscal conservatism would win out, even as the Senate’s budget stands under $75 billion with the House’s proposal around $75.3 billion. “We’re going to live within our means,” Gaetz said. “We’re going to balance the budget. We’re going to cut taxes.”

Taking a page from fiscal conservative writers Travis Brown and Stephen Moore, who spoke earlier in the evening on how state and national policies impact the economy, Gaetz contrasted Florida with New York, noting the Empire State has the same population as the Sunshine State, but spends twice as much on state government. “We’re not making the same kind of mistakes as other states,” Gaetz said. “We’re not making the same kind of mistakes as Washington.”

Weatherford praised JMI for offering “conservative leadership” and fighting for “fiscal responsibility” before turning his attention to the 2014 gubernatorial contest. Noting that unemployment stood at 4 percent in Florida when Charlie Crist became governor, Weatherford pointed out that it increased to “almost 12 percent” under his watch. Having left the Republicans in 2010 and joined the Democrats in 2012, Crist is the favorite for his new party’s nomination to challenge Gov. Rick Scott in November.

“We made some electoral mistakes that hopefully we won’t make again in November,” Weatherford said, taking a shot at Crist.

Asked by McClure what he was proudest of during his two years as speaker, Weatherford praised his partnership with Gaetz as they worked on “significant, bold initiatives.” Weatherford also talked about servant leadership in the House and how the members were more important than the speaker. “You have a small thimble of influence which comes and goes very quickly,” Weatherford said.

Gaetz said he was proud of being able to build common ground in the Senate, saying leaders should “listen to the opposition, not agree with them” and “try to find some common ground.” Noting his own efforts to expand school choice in Florida, Gaetz said he often worked with former Florida Senate Democratic Leader Al Lawson on the matter.

Looking ahead to the future, Weatherford said he hopes the GOP leadership controlling Tallahassee will be able to “broaden” its appeal by “fighting for people who can’t fight for themselves.” Weatherford said Republicans needed to focus their messaging to “lift people from generational poverty with freedom and education,” which means more outreach.

“If Florida is going to be successful, we can’t just talk about the unemployment rate,” Weatherford said, insisting generations of Floridians are being trapped in poverty.

Gaetz cautioned conservatives not to count on success and urged them to fight for their values in the public arena, saying he hopes “the impulse to never give in” continues to drive them.

Both leaders also weighed in on family, with Gaetz saying he was proud of his son, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, while both the leaders also praised former House Speaker Allan Bense, chairman of JMI’s board and Weatherford’s father-in-law.

Gaetz praised Weatherford as “extraordinary” and “dynamic” and said the term-limited speaker would be a force at the state and national levels in the years to come.

“He is the future,” Gaetz said of his legislative partner.



Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.


Comments (6)

Frank
2:24PM APR 24TH 2014
LOOK OUT FLORIDA! . . . . here come the special interests and sausage making out of the sunshine . . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
$DOLLARS$ from heaven
2:58PM APR 24TH 2014
Frank, you've got about as much sense as that old judge down in Spring Hill - Illuminati spinster-spitster that spudders and flutters every time someone blogs the truth on the topix. You guys might just as well realize you have probably won people with brains can already smell the odor from you new world order and they don't like it!

For years the Bushes was able to hide like the wolves in sheeps clothing they are but, when you have GW passing NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT and his brother Neil (infamous destroyer of US Savings and Loans) starting IGNITE LEARN, INC. with investors like GHW & Barbara Bush, their Russian Mobster friend along with the Saudi Prince Friend - all the while they are collecting MILLION & MILLIONS of tax dollars off the law made by GWB. Then with our eyes closed we can see Jeb Bush first pushing his friends (and he owns some as well) for-profit Charter School Takeovers - now we see he is the major driving force behind COMMON CORE after his friend and co-hort Barack Obama funded it through the 2009 stimulus act and Race to the Top!

And sure Gaetz and Weatherford will have something special awaiting them when they are term limited out. If nothing else they will make a special place for the. When former Senator Carey Baker the snointed one for Ag Commissioner was forced to face Adam Putnam the establishment (Haridoupalas) paid him $90 thousand a year until they could slide him into the Lake County Property Appraiser's job.

All the goons have a place - it's just that some times they have to wait their turns - until them they will be well cared for even if it's just $DOLLARS$ from heaven for an advisory position that don't exist.
Michael
11:18AM APR 24TH 2014
A more terrifying prospect i cannot imagine. They will continue to destroy the middle class and burdern the working poor while making sure those with he misfortune to be truly destitute will have no hope at all. Meanwhile their overlords and direct employers, Weatherford is a paid lobbiest and Gaetz is mostly with that being his future prospects, will do even better.
which Bush definition will they use?
10:50AM APR 24TH 2014
Which definition of conservative are they using this time?

George W. Bush’s, compassionate conservative. Or, Jeb Bush’s “Aggressive Conservatism” in Florida?

But bow even Jeb Bush, is the New Compassionate Conservative !
The former Florida governor is well-positioned to make the new case for compassionate conservatism.

Jeb Bush made “the so called moral case for breaking the law.” Speaking about undocumented migrants (aka) Illegal aliens (trespassers on American soil), Bush defended the men and women who crossed the border without authorization “because they had no other means to work to be able to provide for their family.”

“Yes,” he granted, “they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love.”
So, in making this statement Jeb Bush has become the judge of which laws should be enforced and which should not. Is that not the same actions we see daily from Barack Obama? He enforces the laws he likes and ignores the ones he does not like or the ones that does not fit his goals and agenda’s.

Jeb Bush’s “Aggressive Conservatism” in Florida . That translates to “It’s my way or the highway!” A book which describes the rise of John Ellis (Jeb) Bush, the second son of former President George H.W. Bush, to political power in Florida. It examines the (so called) conservative theory that guided his behavior when he was elected and the “aggressive manner in which he used the Office of Governor to pursue his goals.” The book offers insight into his motivations and competencies, provides an analysis of the extent to which his self proclaimed "revolution" achieved its goals, and asks what the revolution meant for Florida. The author's own views naturally structure the analysis provided, but readers are invited to examine his argument and to propose alternative explanations for the Governor's actions and the policy outcomes of his administration.

So, these law makers are simply following the path to conservatism laid forth by Jeb and his destruction of the Judicial system in Florida in which he demanded they bow to the legislature and the governor as the power of the State of Florida.
Robert Dominguez
10:04AM APR 24TH 2014
Ive been a Republican all my life as were my parents, this bunch takes the hard working Americans for idiots, you serious about debt starts with corporate Welfare, foreign aid and stop blaming others for problems you created from 2000-2009! You have not lifted one finger to help hard working Americans, elderly retired, students and even our brave veterans, instead you blame the poor and all those Americans who lost their jobs for your actions or inaction, now you call them lazy! My money and support is for the American people you are supposed to be serving! Please look up conservative in the dictionary, you act more like facist and radicals!
it is what it is
11:02AM APR 24TH 2014
They "act more like facist and radicals!"You know that old lawyer saying "if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck."

Check your history of these Bush's that have infiltrated the former Republican Party Sate and National. Samuel Bush (WW! Remington Arms and munitions for the war) WW2 his son Prescott Bush (father of George Herbert Walker Bush) and his #1 Wall Street Banksters financed the build up of Hitler's war beginning in 1939 and up until after the US entered the war against Nazi Germany. Prescott was admonished before congress but with the power of his world bankster friends walked a free man only to become the Senator from CT. After the death of the former senator. George HW Bush CIA involved from the late 1950's - Bay of Pigs - Watergate burglers - the Plumbers - John Hinckley, Jr. Bush family connections. Bill Clinton GHWB Little Rock, AR Mena Airport connections. Then the sobbered up little George W. and Jeb and the beat goes on.

It is what it is! But, with the Clinton communist involvement and the Bush family Nazi involvement history - these people don't know what they really are - just under the influence of their New World Order Handlers and going along for the ride! Now is the good times for politicians; they can steal all they can carry and know full well nothing will ever be done about it.

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