Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed Will Weatherford to the University of South Florida Board of Trustees.
Weatherford, a former Speaker of the Florida House, is currently managing partner of Weatherford Capital.
Weatherford is also a member of the Florida Council of 100, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Jacksonville University Board of Trustees and serves as co-chair of the Super Bowl LV Host Committee. The Super Bowl is Feb. 7 in Tampa.
The USF Board of Trustees sets policy for the school and serves as the legal owner and governing board. It consists of 13 members, six of whom the Governor appoints. Members serve five year terms. He served as Speaker the final two years of his tenure in the House, which began in 2006.
Weatherford, the youngest lawmaker in the entire United States to lead a legislative chamber when he took the gavel in 2013, was one of the most influential House speakers in modern Florida history.
He was one of the first Republicans to aggressively oppose Medicaid expansion under then-President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, the Affordable Care Act. He defended his opposition by arguing Medicaid was an inferior form of health coverage and instead suggested the state should offer health coverage to more than 500,000 Floridians in the coverage gap through private policies without taking federal dollars. To this date, the state still has not approved Medicaid expansion.
Weatherford also supported Gov. Rick Scott’s plan to have public school teachers to contribute 3% of their salaries to their pension plans. Scott’s plan was ultimately approved. Before that law took effect in 2011, teachers’ pensions were funded through the state.
While Weatherford is no longer in elected office, some believe a return to public life is inevitable.
“He was a dynamic young Speaker who very much made sure that the House was in a prominent position,” Tallahassee lobbyist Gus Corbella previously told Florida Politics. “His name is constantly whispered and rumored as far as future leadership — Governor, Senator, whatever.”
One of those whispers comes from Sen. Ed Hooper who served with Weatherford in the House.
“I would follow Will Weatherford anywhere. I hope he runs for Governor or U.S. Senate someday. I will support any position he ever seeks. He is just a good man who has a wonderful family and his priorities are spot on every day,” Hooper said.
Corbellla and Hooper offered those comments a year ago. Since then, the whisper campaign has not come to fruition. However, Weatherford’s new appointment could stir further speculation.
Weatherford’s appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.