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Weatherford names Mears as chief of staff

Incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, has confirmed that Kathy Mears will be his chief of staff.

The announcement confirms a May Times/Herald report that Mears, who held high-level advisory posts for Gov. Charlie Crist and Senate presidents Tom Lee and Ken Pruitt, was a top pick for the position. Mears was also communications director for former House Speaker Dan Webster when he ran for Congress in 2010.

“Kathy is a true professional with invaluable experience in the highest levels of state government and the private sector,” Weatherford wrote in a press release. “As my chief of staff, she will play a central role in helping the Florida House develop solutions to address the many challenges facing our state."

Weatherford also announced that Ryan Duffy will be his chief spokesperson.