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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

House starts redistricting effort with a fight



One day into the House's effort to redraw Florida's political lines has already become a fiesty power clash.

You wouldn't know it this morning, however, when It was all happiness and peace between Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, the newly-appointed head of the House Redistricting Committee, and the House Democrat's lead legislator on the issue, Rep. Perry Thurston, D-Plantation.

Thurston had asked to be appointed to the committee when he submitted his request for assignments to Speaker Dean Cannon before session. But Thurston has been an outspoken critic of Cannon's attempts to reform the court and the House speaker is allegedly not too pleased. So Thurston was excluded from the list of appointees to the massive committee.

Thurston, the Democrat's designated speaker in 2013, attended the committee's first meeting and said Weatherford, his party's designated speaker, told him they would work it out. But by the end of the day , there was no such deal. Democratic Leader Ron Saunders sent Cannon this letter:

April 20, 2011

The Honorable Dean Cannon, Speaker

Florida House of Representatives

402 South Monroe Street

420 The Capitol

Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1300

 Dear Speaker Cannon:

 I write to resolve possible miscommunication pertaining to the request of Representative Perry Thurston to serve as a member of the House Redistricting Committee. 

In a recent news report, I read your office spokeswoman’s explanation of why Representative Thurston had not been named as a member of the committee. According to the article, Representative Thurston may not have timely responded to your recent email asking members to indicate whether they wanted to serve on the committee. 

I respectfully remind you that Representative Thurston informed you in writing last November (when submitting a `Committee Preference Form’ with your office) that he was not only “very interested” in serving on the Redistricting Committee but that such an appointment was his “First Choice” request of committee assignments. 

Additionally, Representative Thurston has had numerous conversations with Representative Will Weatherford, the chairman of the Redistricting Committee, about his expected service on the committee. 

Accordingly, I respectfully request that you, at the earliest convenience, appoint Representative Thurston to the House Redistricting Committee and name him Democratic Ranking Member.


Ron Saunders

Minority Leader


[Last modified: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 8:56pm]


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