Local Representative Loses Bid For Florida House Speaker

Press Release: Florida House Of Representatives

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – State Representative Mark S. Pafford (D-West Palm Beach) was elected tonight by his legislative colleagues to serve as the next leader of the Florida House Democratic Caucus.

In an election held in The Florida Capitol, the 44-member House Democratic Caucus selected Pafford to hold the post of Democratic Speaker-designate. In effect, Pafford is now poised to succeed Rep. Perry Thurston as House Democratic Leader after the November 2014 general elections.

Pafford, 47, is a third-term lawmaker who was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2008. He presently serves as the House Democratic Policy Chair and previously held the post of Deputy Minority Whip. He serves Florida House District 86 in Palm Beach County.

A native of rural Miami-Dade County, Pafford is married to Tracy Pafford and has two children, Audrey and Brendan. A product of Florida’s public education system, Pafford graduated from Florida International University in 1988 with a degree in Public Administration.

Early in his professional career, Pafford worked as an interpretative nature guide for Metro-Dade Parks and Recreation, an extension of his lifelong love of Florida’s precious natural resources, which he has put to effect as a member of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee. Representative Pafford is a vocal advocate for Everglades preservation and restoration, protection of lands vital to the endangered Florida panther and awareness of the dangers of sea level rise.

Representative Pafford has worked as both a congressional aide and a state legislative assistant. He has also worked at the local government level and for several area non-profits. His interest in these areas has been put to good use as he has served on a variety of House committees covering the areas of seniors, child welfare, healthcare, caregivers and local government.

For a photo gallery and additional information about Representative Pafford, visit his page on the Florida House of Representatives website at: REPRESENTATIVE MARK S. PAFFORD.

Also, follow news and information about the Florida House Democratic Caucus at FLHOUSEDEMS on Facebook or FLHOUSEDEMS on Twitter.

Tallahassee, FL - Representative Alan Williams has been defeated by Rep. Mark Pafford in his run to lead House Democrats.

By: Julie Montanaro
September 25, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - A Tallahassee lawmaker is vying for a chance to become Florida house speaker. Alan Williams is trying to shore up support in advance of a vote tonight. Tonight House democrats will vote on a new leader, after Representative Darryl Rouson was ousted from the job on Monday.

Alan Williams has represented the Big Bend for the past six years.
He sent a letter to the house clerk Tuesday announcing he is in the running to lead house democrats from 2014 to 2016.

He is taking on West Palm Beach representative Mark Pafford. House democrats will make their choice at a meeting at 7:30 Wednesday night. Williams or Pafford would become house minority leader, which puts them in line to become speaker of the house only if democrats are able to gain a majority in the house in the next election.

"I think the people of Florida do better when it's a balance, so my job is to bring more democrats to the chamber to vote on issues that aren't republican in nature and aren't democrat in nature that we do the best we can for the citizens in Florida," said Representative Alan Williams.

Right now the split is 76 Republicans and 44 democrats.
Both men were among those who called for a special session on stand your ground and spoke out about proposed changes to Florida's pension plan.

Tallahassee, FL - Local representative Alan Williams has announced his candidacy for Florida's Speaker of the House for the 2014-2016 legislative term.

Representative Williams is currently the Democratic Whip and serves House District 8 in Florida, which includes parts of Tallahassee.

Says Williams in a letter to the House Clerk Ward announcing his candidacy: "I pledge in good faith to abide by the Democratic Caucus Rules."

The News Service of Florida


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THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, September 24, 2013..........Two lawmakers filed paperwork Tuesday to try to become the next House Democratic leader, part of a 48-hour rush to fill the role after the caucus ousted its first choice in a dramatic meeting Monday night.

Rep. Mark Pafford of West Palm Beach and Rep. Alan Williams of Tallahassee said they would seek the position, while Rep. Mia Jones of Jacksonville declined to make another bid. Jones narrowly lost a February election that led to Rep. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg being named leader; Williams was initially in that race, but dropped out.

Pafford is perceived to be the front-runner, with an ability to heal ties with the Florida Democratic Party, trial lawyers and teachers after complaints that Rouson had alienated those groups. Pafford, a progressive, could also help soothe grass-roots activists uneasy with the idea that former Gov. Charlie Crist, once a Republican, is the party's likely gubernatorial nominee in 2014.

In her statement withdrawing from the race, Jones threw her support behind Pafford.

"At this time, I believe it is in the best interest of the caucus for us to elect Representative Mark Pafford as our next leader," Jones said. "He will represent us with dignity and integrity, and most importantly, he will right this ship."

A meeting was set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday for Democrats to choose a new leader, who would be charged with leading the effort next year to gain more seats for the party in the 120-member House. That leader also will head the Democratic caucus for a two-year term, starting after the 2014 elections.

There are currently 44 Democratic legislators, and the party could face headwinds in trying to pick up seats next year as President Barack Obama faces his second midterm elections. Presidents' parties traditionally suffer electoral setbacks in those second-term elections.

Meanwhile, Rouson made it clear that he would not seek the leader position after he was pushed out in a 24-17 vote. It would appear to have been an uphill climb for him to regain the leadership chair just two days after being removed by the caucus.

In his statement withdrawing from the race, Rouson also appeared to nod to the idea that Pafford was likely to prevail.

"For the sake of caucus unity, I will not file a statement of candidacy nor will I accept the urging of my members to seek the leadership at this time," he said. "I am asking those that supported me to meet personally with Rep. Mark Pafford and make your concerns known."

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