Florida Officials Release Statements On Passing Of Gov. Askew

By: WCTV Eyewitness News Email
By: WCTV Eyewitness News Email
Askew

Florida's 37th Governor, Reubin Askew, stands in the Governor's office during his first term. Source | State Archives of Florida

Statement from Governor Rick Scott

TAMPA, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott today made the following statement regarding the passing of former Florida Governor Reubin Askew early this morning at the age of 85.

Governor Scott said, "Governor 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. Governor 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."


Statement from Governor Charlie Crist

"Governor 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."


Statement from Governor Bob Martinez

“Governor Askew was an outstanding person, public official and friend. His leadership in ethics reform, environment and bringing Floridians of all color, ethnicity and gender together is a legacy to be admired. On a personal note, he got me started in public life when he appointment me to the Southwest Water Management District in 1975. Over the years we had the opportunity to talk at various Tallahassee events and I had the privilege to lecture several times to students taking his class. He will be missed by family and friends. God Bless.”


Statement from Governor Jeb Bush

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush made the following statement regarding the passing of former Florida Governor Reubin Askew:

“With the passing of Governor 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. Governor Askew always put principle before politics, and I was fortunate to know him, seek counsel from him and learn from his years of service.

“Governor 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.”


Statement from Tallahassee Mayor John Marks

“Today, Tallahassee and the State of Florida mourn the passing of one of our greatest and most respected leaders. From his work to make Florida’s government open and honest to his efforts to promote racial equality, Governor Askew leaves behind a legacy of public service and professional integrity that is truly unmatched.”

Statement from Attorney General Pam Bondi

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi issued the following statement regarding the passing of Governor Reubin Askew.

“Governor 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. Governor Askew’s love of teaching has inspired educators and students for decades. My prayers are with Governor Askew’s family and friends, and especially with his wife, Donna Lou, who not too long ago celebrated her golden anniversary with Governor Askew. Governor 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.”


Statement from Gwen Graham

Tallahassee, FL – Today, Gwen Graham issued the following statement of condolence on the passing of former Florida Governor Reubin Askew.

"Today we remember the life and legacy of Governor Reubin Askew. He was a great statesman and public servant for the people of Florida.

Governor Askew showed Florida and America true leadership. He understood what it meant to put the people before politics — from advancing civil rights as governor to teaching at Florida State University.

I was blessed with the honor of knowing Governor Askew. He was a truly decent man whose impact on our state will be felt long after his passing. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”


Statement from Bill Nelson

“Governor Askew was one of the best examples of integrity in the public square,” said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. “He believed that ‘a public office is a public trust’.”


Statement from Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater

TALLAHASSEE – Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater released the following statement on the passing of Florida Governor Reubin Askew:

“I am saddened to learn of the passing of former Florida Governor 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.

“Governor 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.”


Statement from Senate President Don Gaetz

Tallahassee–Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) released the following statement regarding the passing of former Florida Governor Reubin Askew.

“The passing of Governor 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 60’s and 70’s, Governor 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.”


Statement from Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith

TALLAHASSEE – Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith (D-Ft. Lauderdale) on Thursday released the following statement on the death of former Governor Reubin Askew:

“On behalf of myself and the Florida Senate Democratic Caucus, our deepest sympathies go out to Governor Askew’s wife and his children; our prayers are with them.

“Governor 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, Governor 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.”


Statement from House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston (D-Fort Lauderdale) issued the following statement regarding the death of former Florida Governor Reubin Askew:

“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 Democratic Party principles. Governor Askew’s devotion to the people of Florida and his enduring legacy will be missed tremendously.”


Statement from House Speaker Will Weatherford

Tallahassee, Fla.—House Speaker Will Weatherford today issued the following statement regarding former Florida Governor Reubin Askew’s passing:

“In Governor Askew, Florida has lost a leader who embodied what it means to be a true public servant. Governor 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.”


Statement from Chairman Lenny Curry

"Governor Askew was an outstanding public servant, upon whose shoulders others have stood to carry on his legacy of good and transparent government. He was a family man, an educator, a veteran of our armed forces, and a man of unmatched integrity. We mourn the passing of this great leader, but more importantly, celebrate his life and the way in which he committed it to public service."


Statement from Florida State University

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State University alumnus Reubin O’Donovan Askew — a giant in modern Florida politics — died March 13. He was 85.
"The entire Florida State University family is saddened to learn of Reubin Askew's passing,” said President Eric J. Barron.

“As both a student and alumnus of this institution, he set an inspiring example of leadership and engagement from his service as student body president to that of Florida governor and, finally, as professor and eminent scholar in the school that bears his name. Florida State University and its students will forever be richer because of Reubin Askew's contributions," Barron said.

Askew, who earned a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Florida State in 1951, served as student body president his senior year. He was active in Omicron Delta Kappa, Gold Key, Delta Tau Delta and Alpha Phi Omega.

In 1994, Florida State renamed its School of Public Administration and Policy in his honor. Askew joined its faculty in 1995 as Distinguished Professor of Public Administration and Policy. In 2000, his position was renamed the Reubin O’D. Askew Eminent Scholar Chair in Florida Government and Politics. In addition, he served as senior fellow in the university’s John Scott Dailey Florida Institute of Government and trustee of the LeRoy Collins Institute.

“His reputation is why our faculty members voted unanimously to name our school after our beloved alumnus and friend,” said William Earle Klay, director of the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy.

“The legacy of Reubin Askew's reputation, integrity and inclusiveness in service to others is what we intend to keep passing on to our students for many years to come. This is reflected in our school's mission statement, ‘Promoting Scholarship, Democratic Governance, and Integrity,’” Klay said.

Askew was an extraordinary colleague, said David W. Rasmussen, dean of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy.

“I have very much appreciated the support Gov. Askew has shown me throughout my tenure as dean. Courses he taught in the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy shaped generations of future state leaders. Students were excited by the Governor’s courses because he brought the course material to life from his personal experience and the state leaders he brought in as guest lecturers.

“He will be missed by the faculty and staff of the college,” Rasmussen said.

Askew was also involved with the Florida State University College of Law.

“Gov. Askew was a brilliant expert and analyst on issues of international trade and finance,” said Donald J. Weidner, dean of the College of Law.

Askew was a United States Trade Representative from 1979-1980, having been invited to the post by then-President Jimmy Carter.

“Furthermore, he was pivotal in the College of Law’s recruitment of our Eminent Scholar in International Law, Fred Abbott. The Governor was extremely proud of bringing Abbott to Florida State,” Weidner said.

“The Governor and Donna Lou enriched the lives of all of us on campus. He will always be the Governor.”

In 2006, the university named its Student Life Building after Askew to recognize his leadership and involvement during his days as a student. In 2012, the Florida State University Alumni Association created the Reubin O’D. Askew Young Alumni Award to be the highest honor given to young alumni.

Askew earned a law degree from the University of Florida in 1956. After serving in the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate, he was elected governor in 1970 and re-elected in 1974, making him the first governor to serve two consecutive, four-year terms. He was asked to deliver the keynote address at the 1972 Democratic Convention and in 1984 became the first Floridian to formally run for the presidency.

Florida State President Emeritus Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte, a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 1966-1972, remembered Askew as a man of integrity who was the architect of the ethics program now in Article II, Section 8, of the Florida Constitution.

“When Reubin became governor, Florida was widely regarded as an ethical mess,” said D’Alemberte, referring to the numerous state lawmakers and other elected officials in trouble over ethics. “Reubin came in and straightened it out. He was a model for everyone.”

Askew accomplished his ethics reforms through the first use of the initiative-provision for revising the state constitution. The measure — which was Askew’s idea, drafted under his supervision and passed by him and his staff — called for full and public financial disclosure for all elected constitutional officers and candidates for such offices.

D’Alemberte also called Askew “tenacious” in his fight to modernize the state’s judicial system.

For Florida State University's statement on the death of Gov. Askew, visit www.fsu.edu.


Statement by State Representative Alan Williams

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – State Representative Alan Williams (D Tallahassee), Chairman of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus issued the following statement regarding the death of former Florida Governor Reubin Askew:

“Reubin Askew was a champion of moral values and civil rights in Florida. As Governor, Reubin Askew was known as, “the father of open government” and worked tirelessly to improve the lives of all Floridians. Governor Askew made Florida government more transparent under his leadership. Because of his professionalism and competence, he brought dignity to politics and was respected by people on both sides of the aisle. As a past professor, it’s fitting that the Askew School of Public Policy at Florida State University is named in his honor.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the Askew family. I was blessed to have had Governor Askew friendship over the years. It was such a joy and learning opportunity whenever I was in his presence at a Florida State University game or a visit to Westminster Oaks. Governor Askew will be sorely missed, but he will be present every time a legislator files a bill, a constituent submits a public records request, or when the Seminoles score a touchdown.”


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