Rep. Zapata on losing post: 'I've been laid off'
State Rep. Juan Zapata, a Miami Republican, had this reaction Monday to the news that he was one of four House members stripped of his chairmanships in Speaker Larry Cretul's reorganization.
"I've been laid off," Zapata told the Herald-Times' Marc Caputo. "A lot of us have been laid off." He said that he and another sacked chairman, Rep. Carl Domino of Jupiter, "are wondering what we're going to do in the suite other than staring at each other. I can understand why Cretul did this. This used to be one committee, now it's three, and (Sen. Durell) Peaden (the Senate's chief health-care budget writer) was going nuts negotiating with three of us."
Zapata, 42, bucked Cretul last spring by striking some of leadership's spending priorities in his capacity as chairman of the Human Services Appropriations Committee. Cretul responded by ordering that the spending be re-inserted in the budget. Zapata also fought to stop privatization of Northeast Florida State Hospital in Macclenny, another House priority that the Senate ultimately defeated. (Read the previous story on Zapata's battle with Cretul here).