What people are saying in memory of former Gov. Reubin Askew

 

Compiled by Tampa Bay Times staff

Gov. Rick Scott: "Gov. Askew served our nation as a veteran, he served Florida's families as an elected officeholder, and he served our children as an educator. He helped lead Florida to enormous growth and was a trailblazer for good government. His advocacy for Florida's sunshine laws was a landmark moment for ethics and transparency in government, and that legacy continues to endure. His accomplishments were vast, but he remained humble and took his commitment to public service seriously. Gov. Askew strove to make life better for all of Florida's families, and that dedication is an example for all who followed in his footsteps. Ann and I mourn his passing and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Donna Lou, and his entire family."

Former Gov. Charlie Crist: "Gov. Askew opened up government to the people, allowing our state to be progressive on critical issues like civil rights, education, and ethics. He was a public servant, a teacher of students, and now a lesson of hope and progress forever sketched into the history of our beautiful state. Carole and I send our thoughts and prayers to Donna Lou, Kevin, and Angela."

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson: "Gov. Askew was one of the best examples of integrity in the public square. He believed that 'a public office is a public trust.' "

Former Gov. Jeb Bush: "With the passing of Gov. Reubin Askew, Florida has lost one of the great leaders who played a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of our state during a time of substantial growth and change. He led on contentious issues, fought for equality and did what he believed was in the best interests of Florida families. Gov. Askew always put principle before politics and I was fortunate to know him, seek counsel from him and learn from his years of service. Gov. Askew's service to Florida continued well past his time in elected office as he lectured at universities across the state, instilling in so many young Floridians the same passion for good public policy and ethical governance that he demonstrated throughout his storied career. Reubin Askew will always be remembered as a great Floridian and a committed, accomplished public servant. Columba and my prayers are with Donna Lou and the entire Askew family as they mourn this grave loss."

House Speaker Will Weatherford: "In Gov. Askew, Florida has lost a leader who embodied what it means to be a true public servant. Gov. Askew leaves behind a legacy of public service that has set the standard for all individuals in elected office today. His tenure includes opening up government and creating new reporting standards for elected officials, which still serve Florida well today. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know this great man. I offer my prayers to his family and his wife Donna Lou."

Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant: "Reubin Askew was a giant of Florida history, whose unparalleled accomplishments for the people of Florida set the example all Floridians elected to public office strive to meet. We will miss his wisdom, his friendship, and his leadership in difficult times. Reubin Askew leaves behind a legacy as strong as the principles he fought for. His commitment to honesty in government, to civil rights, and to the middle class restored people's faith that government could work for them. Reubin Askew will live on in the memories of those who knew him and in the lives of the millions of Floridians whose lives he touched. Let us all continue to serve Florida in that spirit."

House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale: "Reubin Askew distinguished himself as one of the greatest governors in Florida history, having been a champion for racial equality, ethics and tax reforms, and modernizing our state government. Reubin Askew served with honor in the Florida Senate and the state House of Representatives, where he enjoyed a reputation for integrity, compassion, and Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale: "On behalf of myself and the Florida Senate Democratic Caucus, our deepest sympathies go out to Gov. Askew's wife and his children; our prayers are with them. Gov. Askew will be remembered by many people for many different things, but I believe the most important, the key to his legacy is that he was a man of conscience and conviction. He never shied from a fight for a good and just cause. Whether it was advancing the cause of civil rights, such as appointing the first black Supreme Court justice and pushing for equal education, or championing women's rights, or confronting an unfair tax system, his unwavering commitment to 'the little person's voice' never faltered. Raised by a working single mother, Gov. Askew learned at an early age the value of hard work and the values of hard working people. He remained their faithful servant until the very end."

Attorney General Pam Bondi: "Gov. Askew was a courageous public servant who led by example. He was guided by honesty and integrity, and he set a high standard for public service as he pursued ethics reform, transparency, and equality. Gov. Askew's love of teaching has inspired educators and students for decades. My prayers are with Gov. Askew's family and friends, and especially with his wife, Donna Lou, who not too long ago celebrated her golden anniversary with Gov. Askew. Gov. Askew's leadership as Florida's 37th Governor and as a teacher improved the lives of countless individual Floridians and our state as a whole. His legacy will live on forever."

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa: "Gov. Reubin Askew brought Florida into the modern era. His commitment to the Sunshine law, high ethical standards and equal rights charted a course of positive change across our state. The integrity and moral forthrightness he exercised in and out of public office stand as important examples for all who enter public service or who want to be good citizens for our state that Gov. Askew loved so much."

Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville: "The passing of Gov. Reubin Askew leaves a lonesome place against the Florida sky. He opened up Florida's government to its people and made our state a model for America. For those of us of a certain age who cut our political teeth in the 60s and 70s, Gov. Askew was living proof that good guys can finish first. Integrity was his platform and honor was his policy. I was privileged to get to know him in his final years. One of the most memorable evenings of my life was the opportunity to co-teach his graduate class at Florida State. Being in his presence was like walking with history."

University of Florida President Bernie Machen: "We will miss Reubin Askew, but his legacy is cemented in Florida's history, including here at the University of Florida in the form of the Institute on Politics and Society that bears his name. To this day, the state continues to benefit from his uncommon leadership on issues as diverse as the environment, public records, tax and education reform and racial integration."

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater: "I am saddened to learn of the passing of former Florida Gov. Askew. He was a champion for racial equality who maintained an unrelenting pursuit to make Florida's government more transparent and open for the people he served. I will always be grateful for the wisdom and time he shared with me. His generosity was evident in all aspects of his life. Gov. Askew challenged us all to be better people. He was a great man whose legacy will always be remembered. My prayers are with his wife, Donna Lou, his children and his extended family during this time."

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