In House ceremony, Corcoran cites 'sacred trust' of public office
House Republicans elected Rep. Richard Corcoran as their leader Monday in a designation ceremony that makes the Land O'Lakes lawyer speaker for the next two years.
Corcoran's wife Ann and their six children were in the House chamber in Tallahassee along with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who helped Corcoran's political ascent by appointing him his chief of staff when Rubio became speaker a decade ago.
"We have to reduce the temptations so that we can remember that the power we hold, we don't hold for ourselves and our own interests, but we hold it in trust for the people we represent," Corcoran said in prepared remarks that described holding public office as "a sacred trust."
Corcoran has shaken up the Tallahassee establishment with a direct attack on the status quo that includes changes to the budgeting process, new limits on texting between House members and lobbyists, a ban on lawmakers flying on lobbyist-owned airplanes and a six-year ban on former members lobbying the House, the most restrictive ban of its kind of any state.
Before Corcoran spoke, Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, acknowledged that political insiders (including more than a few lobbyists) have expressed "cynicism, skepticism and disbelief" about Corcoran's blueprint for change. Many observers are predicting a political clash with the Senate, which has not advocated similar changes and where Senate President Joe Negron has said the public will be ill-served by Corcoran's insistence that all member-sponsored spending projects be filed by the first day of the session.
"Lay down your skepticism, put away your cynicism and drop your disbelief," Sprowls said. "Save your doubt for another day."
House members also elected Rep. Jeanette Nunez, R-Miami, as speaker pro tem for the 2016-2018 term. "Buckle your seat belts, because it's going to be an interesting ride," Nunez said.