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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Weatherford doles out Capitol real estate



One of the best approximations of power is the proximity to it.

So it’s always fun when the Florida Speaker doles out real estate, deciding which lawmakers get offices close to his, and which ones get relegated to the “towers”.

This week, freshly minted Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, handed out his office assignments for the 120 members. A few quick notes…

1)   Rep.  Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey

For a guy who only a few days ago criticized one of Weatherford’s committee appointments, Fasano could have been treated like other freshman representatives, who are typically given offices on the 10 floor and above. Instead, he got a sizable office on the fourth floor of the House building. He’ll share it with a trusted Weatherford ally: powerful Judicial Chair Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala. Maybe Weatherford wants to keep an eye on  him

2) Fourth floor Capitol offices: Gotta have it

By far, the most sought after offices are the ones on the same floor as Weatherford. That would be the fourth floor of the Capitol. Twenty feet down from the speaker is the office of the speaker pro tempore, Rep. Marti Coley, R-Marianna, and the speaker designate for 2015, Rep. Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island. Across the hall, past the House Chamber, is the  office for two more members:  Rep. Rob Schenck, R-Spring Hill, who is the Rules chairman and a close friend of Weatherford’s, and Rep. Eddy Gonzalez, R-Hialeah, who is chair of the Local & Federal Affairs Committee. The speaker pro tem and designate always get the office down from the speaker. Same with the Rules chair. Only Gonzalez, as the chair of a new committee, is a surprise.

3) The towers must be really bad

Floors 10, 11, 13 and 14 of the Capitol are considered the dregs. Members have to share offices with as many as eight other people. They have wait for elevators that take an eternity to crawl up the building. Weatherford managed to make sure no returning Republican lawmaker got stuck with such an office. Still, Rep. Jose Oliva, R-Miami, who is vying to be Speaker in 2018, will press his case from his office in 1102 the Capitol, which he shares with five other rookies. Because they’re in the minority (it’s 76 Republicans, 44 Democrats if you’re scoring from home), Democrats have veteran lawmakers stuck in the nosebleeds. So Rep. Irv Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, will leave his office on the fourth floor of the House building for a new office at the very tippy top, the 14th floor. He better like elevator rides.

See all office assignments in the attached file.

-- Steve Bousquet, Michael Van Sickler

[Last modified: Friday, November 30, 2012 5:44pm]


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