Former Florida Gov. Reubin O’D. Askew, who served 1971-79, has died at the age of 85.
Family spokesman Ron Sachs writes:
He had been admitted to the hospital last Saturday, suffering from aspiration pneumonia, and his condition worsened when he also suffered a stroke.
Askew, whose name is synonymous with the Golden Age of Florida Politics, served as Florida’s 37th governor. He was widely known as a progressive reformer for his bold, forward-thinking leadership on civil rights, tax reform and government accountability “in the Sunshine.”
Tampa Tribune special correspondent Bill Cotterell, a veteran Tallahassee reporter, writes in an appreciation of Askew that he “came along at just the right time, 1970, when the South was turning from segregation and electing leaders more interested in tax fairness, education and the environment.
“Askew did things he didn’t have to do, things that hurt him politically, like opposing two ‘straw ballots’ on the 1972 presidential primary ballot dealing with school busing and school prayer.
“He gave up some power by creating the Judicial Nominating Commissions, rather than appointing judges via patronage. Similarly, he resisted issuing new liquor licenses -- a valuable patronage plum -- and sponsored the constitutional amendment requiring personal financial disclosure by public officers.”
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Donna Lou, two children – son, Kevin Askew, and daughter, Angela White – and several grandchildren.
Details of memorial services are forthcoming. Scripps/Tribune will have more coverage later today.