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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The speaker speaks, on a variety of subjects

House Speaker Larry Cretul of Ocala held forth on a variety of topics in a Times/Herald interview Tuesday. He confirmed he's considering a restructuring of the House, including whether to maintain two co-equal budget chairmen. Any changes will be completed before the next committee meetings in October, he said.

"There may be a little. There may be a lot," Cretul said of changes he's discussing with Chief of Staff Dudley Goodlette and House leaders. He cited decisions that "maybe fit Speaker Sansom better than me," and described himself as "more participatory" than Sansom.

The only question Cretul dodged was whether his predecessor, the twice-indicted Rep. Ray Sansom of Destin, should resign. "I don't think I want to go into that area. There's a process in place now," he said, referring to the select committee that will investigate whether Sansom violated the House rules in budget machinations that aided a hometown college and a prominent developer.

Cretul said he's still pondering a race for Congress in 2010, but added, "I don't rush into anything." He agreed that ex-Speaker Marco Rubio's conservatism is closer to his brand of Republicanism than Gov. Charlie Crist's. He voiced disappointment in Crist's veto of a bill that would have allowed unregulated insurance rates. The massive unexpected change that elevated him to the speakership was like a "tsunami," but things have stabilized, he said.

Has federal stimulus money helped Florida's economy? "I don't think so. That's a personal opinion," Cretul said. "The unemployment rate continues to climb."  

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[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 4:50pm]

    

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