He is far from being a household name in Florida and yet he will command one of the three most powerful positions in state government with the ability to control every piece of legislation — from how much money goes to public schools to whether the working poor have access to affordable health care.
Rep. Richard Corcoran, from Land O’Lakes in Pasco County, will be designated speaker of the Florida House on Wednesday for the two-year term beginning in November 2016. He will be formally elected by his GOP peers to a job that comes with prestige and enormous power over the 120-member chamber dominated by Republicans.
As a former legislative aide and legal adviser to three former speakers and Gov. Rick Scott, Corcoran brings with him more than 25 years of legislative experience, a network of loyalists, an allegiance with the governor, and an agenda determined to shake up what he considers the “corrupting” influences of Tallahassee.
Working behind the scenes since he won enough pledges to be named speaker of his incoming class in 2010, Corcoran and the 28 members of his class have developed a white paper he calls “The Manifesto.” In it, they outline a plan to blow up the top-down process of House leadership that has allowed special interests to drive a wedge between lawmakers.
“The special interests are the biggest cowards in this process,’’ Corcoran told the Herald/Times. “They split up the herd and go after the weak ones, and they’ll even go after the big ones if they think they can. Story here.