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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Chris Dorworth will be new House majority leader



House Speaker-designate Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, announced Monday that he has chosen his likely successor, Rep. Chris Dorworth of Lake Mary, to be the new House majority leader.

Dorworth, a skillful politician, has been a controversial figure due to personal financial difficulties and his aggressive use of a political fund to pay consultants and travel extensively to advance his goal of becoming speaker in 2014. He's also a potential witness in the upcoming trial of Jim Greer, who had a spectacular fall as former state GOP chairman.

As majority leader, Dorworth's responsibility is very simple: to ensure that the House Republican leadership agenda passes. It requires him to adopt and embrace Weatherford's agenda.

"As incoming speaker, he's already going to be a leader of the (Republican) caucus," Weatherford said. "This is an opportunity for him to lead a very bold agenda going forward. We want the majority office to be strong and to create new ways to message and communicate, and I think he's a good conduit for that."

Weatherford also announced that the chairman of the House Rules Committee for the next two years will be Rep. Rob Schenck, R-Spring Hill, and the largely ceremonial position of speaker pro-term will go to Rep. Marti Coley, R-Marianna. 

Weatherford described Schenck as loyal, thoughtful and collaborative. Coley, entering her ninth session in the House, is one of Weatherford's closest personal friends in the Legislature, and he said she "personifies class and works very hard to listen."

[Last modified: Monday, October 22, 2012 4:15pm]


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