Will Weatherford's swift rise
The swift political rise of Will Weatherford began with a college assignment: keep the freshmen in line.
This was 2002, and Weatherford was a senior defensive end for Jacksonville University's football team. One young player he helped was the son of Allan Bense, soon-to-be speaker of the state House.
Bense and his wife attended games, and immediately liked the affable and mature young man from Pasco County. "He just had a lot of things going for him," Bense said, "so I kept him on my radar."
By chance, by charm, Weatherford had begun cultivating one of his most important political — and, it turned out, personal — relationships. Bense would become his boss, his mentor and his father-in-law. Weatherford married Bense's daughter, Courtney, in 2006.
Next year, just a decade after the men first met, Weatherford, 31, follows in Bense's footsteps as speaker of the Florida House. (story here)