GOP Speaker Choice Unanimous: Thrasher Orange Park Republican Sees River as Priority
Pendleton, Randolph, The Florida Times Union
TALLAHASSEE -- Rep. John Thrasher, who rose to power in the
House with unusual speed, received the unanimous endorsement of
Republican colleagues yesterday to be the next speaker.
Thrasher, a Republican lawyer from Orange Park who grew up in
Jacksonville, will be the first speaker from Northeast Florida
in 30 years in November 1998 if he wins re-election and
Republicans retain their majority as expected.
The last speaker from the region was Democrat Fred Schultz of
Thrasher said he will make the protection of the St. Johns
River one of his priorities in addition to the statewide issues
of education, public safety and economic development.
"How we maintain the integrity of our river is going to be
very important to me," he said.
Before his election five years ago, Thrasher gained
experience with the legislative system as general counsel and
lobbyist for the Florida Medical Association. He has been in the
House leadership since the Republicans took control last year.
He is co-chairman of the Rules, Resolutions and Ethics
Committee and guides the flow of legislation on the House floor.
He was first elected in 1992.
Thrasher has maintained good relationships with Democrats,
while carrying out the agenda of Republican House Speaker Daniel
Webster of Orlando.
"I think most of us recognize him to be a pretty fair-minded
person," Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, said.
Frankel, who as a trial lawyer was sometimes at odds with the
FMA, said she had no qualms about a former lobbyist for the
organization becoming speaker. …