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Weatherford adds Mears, Duffy to House speaker’s office

Thursday, June 7th, 2012 by John Kennedy

Incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, has begun staffing up in anticipation of taking over the state House reins following the November elections.

Weatherford on Thursday announced he has hired veteran Capitol aide Kathy Mears as his chief-of-staff. Mears began her Tallahassee career as spokeswoman for then-House Speaker Daniel Webster, R-Winter Garden, who in 1996 became the first Republican to lead the Florida House in 122 years.

Mears has since been a deputy chief-of-staff and legislative director under Gov. Charlie Crist, a deputy chief and communications director for Senate President Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, and spokeswoman for Senate President Tom Lee, R-Brandon.

Weatherford also named Ryan Duffy as his communications director. Duffy recently worked as spokesman for the Republican leadership team in the House, and formerly was a speechwriter for Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Mel Martinez. He was also a deputy communications director for former Attorney General Bill McCollum’s gubernatorial campaign in 2010.

Kathy Mears heads to Webster campaign

Monday, October 4th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Longtime legislative staffer Kathy Mears, whose most recent government post was as Gov. Charlie Crist’s liaison with the legislature, has gone to work for her former boss Daniel Webster’s campaign for Congress.

Webster, a former House Speaker who also served as Senate Majority Leader before leaving office due to term limits two years ago, is running against U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, the outspoken Orlando Democrat who consistently gets into trouble for his controversial remarks.

“Don’t get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly,” was Grayson’s analysis of GOP opposition to Democrats’ health care reforms in Sept. 2009 and likened the current health care system to a holocaust. Grayson also suggested that former VP Dick Cheney was a vampire.

More recently, Grayson got into hot water for running a campaign attack ad calling Webster “Taliban Dan” in which he uses a video clip of Webster saying wives should submit to their husbands and accusing accusing the Christian conservative of wanting to “impose his radical fundamentalism on us.”

Webster was actually instructing husbands not to rely solely on the Bible’s instructions for wives to submit but to pray for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church.

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