Weatherford calls for unity, Whitten prays as Florida House organizes
Nov 21, 2012
By THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

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TALLAHASSEE (NSF/FBW) -- Newly elected House Speaker Will Weatherford on Nov. 20 gaveled in the newly elected Florida House of Representatives with a call for unity, decorum and bi-partisan respect, while the speaker’s pastor, Ken Whitten, offered the invocation during the organizational session.

Weatherford, a Wesley Chapel Republican who took over from term-limited Dean Cannon of Orlando, made a special note to members of his own party, who still enjoy a comfortable majority in both chambers, but may be stinging from defeat in the most recent national election.

Having lost some ground, including a supermajority in the House, Republicans must now work to implement some programs they vehemently opposed, such as the massive federal health care overhaul.

But Weatherford said, as he has before, that the rancor of the election season has to give way to pragmatic governing.

“Whether you were happy or disappointed with the results the truth is this: We have a president. For those who wish him to fail or, for that matter, wish our Congress to fail only wish for Florida to fail and that is unacceptable,” Weatherford said as the chamber erupted in applause.

Ken Whitten, pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, gives the invocation Nov. 20 on the floor of the Florida House chamber during the body’s organizational meeting for 2013 legislative session.

Photo by Florida House of Representatives
With unemployment still high, poor high school graduation rates and more than 3.5 million Floridians on food stamps, Weatherford said he has little time for entrenched partisan bickering that detracts attention from tangible gains within the Legislature's grasp.

“We are living at a time when the state of Florida needs us to act,” he said.

In his prayer, Whitten, pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, asked for God’s “favor and great blessing” on the organizational session.

With Thanksgiving Day just two days away, Whitten thanked God for a quiet hurricane season in Florida, while praying for those who continue to recover from Superstorm Sandy in the northeast.

Praying for his church member, Weatheford, Whitten said, “I pray as he leads this House, he’ll lead with courage and grace. I pray for wisdom as he manages its operations, presides over its sessions, makes appointments of committee members, and selects their chairs.”

Whitten also prayed for the other leaders of the House from both political parties and respectful debate among members of the chamber.

Related Coverage:

2013 Legislative Session

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