2014 Legislative Session Winner: Some guy named Will Weatherford

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With the passage of the immigration tuition bill, Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford is the single biggest winner of the 2014 legislative session. He has completely silenced his detractors by accomplishing something few of the old silverbacks could have pulled off, and it is the capstone on the first phase of a political career that will inevitably find its full expression on the national stage.

It’s his Nixon-to-China moment, not Gov. Rick Scott’s.

He has pulled the Republican Party in a new and better direction in a successful act of political daring unequaled in Tallahassee for many years.

It also destroys the myth that Weatherford is too nice to throw sharp elbows. He was willing to buck Republican orthodoxy, post up against Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, and pull a seemingly bewildered Rick Scott to the finish line on an issue that has huge practical implications for a few and enormous symbolic value for everyone.

Remember he started this initiative when the Senate president opposed it, the governor would not say he supported it, and powerful members of his own chamber didn’t like it.  It is one of those threshold moments of authentic vision and leadership to be relished.

I’ve seen the future, and it is Will Weatherford.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.