Will Weatherford, Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives (and JU alumni) presents at the Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute: Healthcare Policy Conference on November 13, 2013.
Weatherford is a great speaker. He's charismatic, seemingly genuine and funny. Throughout his speech he continually acquiesces and agrees to specific elements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but he also goes into detail about the components he feels are risky for Florida. Unlike Florida Senator Don Gaetz (we'll see him speak next week), Weatherford has the political charm to slam policy, with a smile. You almost miss his political sucker punches.
Tthe debate over the federal mandate for health insurance, according to Weatherford, is over. The law has passed and the Supreme Court has validated its constitutionality. The issue is the potential expansion of Medicaid. Florida has turned down billions of dollars of federal assistance to expand medicaid. The hospitals want this money, obviously.
Ultimately, Weatherford doesn't think the state of Florida can afford expansion and, even it was affordable, he thinks that states should be empowered to develop programs tailored to the needs of the state not dictated by the Federal government.
Will Weatherford, Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives
Will Weatherford is a small business owner, husband and father who resides in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Will grew up in the Tampa area as the second oldest in a family of nine children. He was homeschooled and like his six brothers, played football at Land ‘O Lakes high school.
Will’s love for the game continued as he furthered his education at Jacksonville University where he earned a degree in business. It is also the place where he found his passion for public service. In college, he was elected Student Government Association Vice President and received the Outstanding Leadership award. After college, Will worked in the commercial real estate sector when Speaker of the House Allan Bense recruited him to serve in state government. Working with Speaker Bense, Will learned valuable lessons about servant leadership, integrity and fairness.
At that time, Will had no idea how important those days would be. In 2006, Will ran for the House of Representatives to represent Pasco County. He won his first race and returned to Tallahassee, this time representing his hometown as an elected official. Not a typical freshman, Will was able to use his knowledge of policy and the process to immediately tackle important issues. He has a record of championing education reform, promoting transparency and accountability in government, expanding school choice for Florida’s parents and children, and leading a redistricting process that put the process above politics that was upheld by a unanimous vote of the Florida Supreme Court.
Will’s inclusive leadership style earned him the confidence of his peers and they unanimously elected him Speaker of the House of Florida in 2012. Today, Will is the youngest Speaker in America. Over the years, Will has been recognized as a “Champion of Business;” a “Defender of Parents’ Rights” by the Florida Catholic Conference; “Legislator of the Year” by Able Trust for Disabled; and a “Top 12 State Legislators to Watch” by Governing Magazine. Will is a citizen legislator. He owns a small business and serves on the board of directors for Florida Traditions Bank based in Dade City. He is also involved in many charitable organizations such as Jobs for Americas Graduates and Florida’s Take Stock in Children program, where he serves as a mentor.
Will Weatherford spoke during the first session after Pat Geraghty