Will Weatherford, the speaker of the Florida state house, is about to take the stage for CPAC’s “10 Conservatives Under 40” panel. As one of only a few state legislators invited to speak at the conference, he’s in an interesting position — as the GOP has struggled nationally, conservative legislators have made impressive inroads on the state level. Weatherford argues that DC is locked in “trench warfare,” and has a lot to learn from statewide accomplishments.
“I stay up to speed on what’s going on in Washington, D.C.,” he tells NRO, “but I could not tell you what the agenda is for the Republican caucus.” By contrast, Weatherford says the “states have done really well,” because “we’ve been pretty good at defining what we’re for and what we’re against.”
In Florida, Weatherford has made his goals pretty clear: At the top of the list is blocking the Medicaid expansion, despite Rick Scott’s best efforts to bring the extension of the Affordable Care Act to Florida. Florida house republicans are also working toward pension reform, a politically risky move that could have big payoffs. And Weatherford is working toward making a University of Florida education available online.
“When Republicans stand for something, we win,” he says. “When we’re just offering you less than the Democrats are — ‘We want to fund education, but not as much as Democrats do, we want to provide health care, but not as much as Democrats’ — that ‘we’re less but we still love ya’ mentality, that’s never going to get us anything. But if we stand for something and show that principle-based approach to governing, people respond to it. And it gets results.”