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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Will Weatherford's swift rise

13

March

b4s_weatherford0313_166388d.jpgThe 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)

[Last modified: Sunday, March 13, 2011 1:44pm]

    

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