HONORING THE LIFE AND DEDICATED SERVICE OF GOVERNOR REUBIN ASKEW; Congressional Record Vol. 160, No. 44
(Extensions of Remarks - March 18, 2014)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.


[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E401]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




    HONORING THE LIFE AND DEDICATED SERVICE OF GOVERNOR REUBIN ASKEW

                                 ______
                                 

                            HON. JEFF MILLER

                               of florida

                    in the house of representatives

                        Tuesday, March 18, 2014

  Mr. MILLER of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the life, 
accomplishments, and dedicated service of one of Florida's greatest 
citizens, Former Governor Reubin Askew. Governor Askew was an 
inspiration to Floridians of all political stripes and ideologies. The 
State of Florida, and our entire Nation, mourns the loss of a true 
patriot, political titan, and a great man.
   Reubin O'Donovan Askew was born on September 11, 1928 in Muskogee, 
Oklahoma. At the age of eight, he moved with his mother to her native 
town of Pensacola, Florida, where he spent the rest of his childhood 
and adolescence. From a young age, Governor Askew displayed an 
assiduous work ethic, taking great pride in working to help contribute 
to the family's finances with jobs as a paperboy, magazine salesman, 
shoeshine boy, and grocery bagger. After graduating from Pensacola High 
School in 1946, Governor Askew followed in the footsteps of his two 
older brothers, who had served in World War II, into military service, 
joining the Army as a paratrooper.
   After two years in the Army, Governor Askew enrolled at Florida 
State University, where his future in politics was presaged by a term 
as student government president. During his time at Florida State, 
Governor Askew also participated in Air Force Reserve Officer Training 
Corps (ROTC), and, upon graduation, he was commissioned as an officer 
and called to active duty, where he oversaw reconnaissance planes 
flying missions in Europe. Governor Askew served two years in the Air 
Force, before enrolling at the University of Florida's School of Law. 
Upon his graduation in 1956, he moved back to Pensacola, where he was 
elected assistant county solicitor. That same year, he married his wife 
of nearly 60 years, Donna Lou.
   Governor Askew was a man of great faith, and, when he began his 
resulting 20-year career in public service, with election to the 
Florida House of Representatives in 1958, he used the Lord's teachings 
to govern with a strong moral compass. Following his first term in the 
Florida House, Governor Askew was elected to the Florida State Senate, 
where he served two terms before deciding to run for governor in 1970. 
Despite being relatively unknown on the state level, Governor Askew 
campaigned on a strong populist platform and emphasized his strong 
faith and devotion to family to win the governorship.
   Governor Askew's list of accomplishments during his time in the 
Governor's mansion are legion and far too numerous to fully list in any 
one space. In fact, so vast were his accomplishments, that the John F. 
Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University named Governor Askew 
one of the top 10 governors of the 20th century, ranking him with men 
who went on to serve as President, like Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow 
Wilson, as well as a future Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Earl 
Warren.
   Today, Governor Askew is perhaps best remembered for championing and 
shepherding through one of our Nation's most robust transparency and 
freedom of information laws, through Florida's Sunshine Law and 
Amendment, which opened up government meetings and required financial 
disclosure by all public officials, candidates, and employees. As 
Governor Askew remarked, ``You've got to remember in government whose 
business you're doing: the people's, and if you're doing the people's 
business, you've got to give them the tools to judge the product.''
   Thanks to his strong moral character and determined leadership, 
Governor Askew became the first governor in Florida's history to be re-
elected to consecutive terms. In addition to his successful 
transparency reforms, Governor Askew will be remembered as a true 
leader on many of the toughest issues of his day, including racial 
integration. Governor Askew had long followed his faith and principles 
on the issue of racial justice, arguing during his time as Florida 
State University Student Government President for integrating the 
higher-education system, and during his time as governor he 
successfully and harmoniously integrated Florida's schools, state 
government and appointed the first African-American Florida Supreme 
Court Justice, Joseph W. Hatchett. During his tenure, Governor Askew 
additionally fought to reduce the tax burden on individual Floridians, 
while also increasing the homestead exemption and repealing consumer 
taxes on household utilities and long-term apartment rentals.
   Following his second term in office, Governor Askew served two years 
as the United States Trade Representative. Governor Askew was also 
highly committed to educating Florida's and our Nation's youth and in 
the mid 1980s, he began a second career as an educator. For ten years, 
he taught classes at each of Florida's public universities, before 
joining the faculty at his alma mater, Florida State University, in 
1995, where he taught for the remainder of his life. In 1994, in 
recognition of his service to the State of Florida, Florida State 
University, named the School of Public Administration and Policy, the 
Reubin O'D Askew School of Public Administration and Policy, and in 
2006, it named a student life center on campus after him as well. In 
addition, the University of Florida established the Reubin O'D Askew 
Institute on Politics and Society to assist Florida's citizens and 
communities in examining critical issues by bringing policymakers, 
educators, students, and community members together to aid them in 
making decisions to enhance Florida's future.
   Mr. Speaker, public service is both a calling and a truly noble 
pursuit. It is not an easy undertaking, and success is not guaranteed. 
Yet, despite its challenges, there are some individuals who were 
seemingly created by the Lord to lead in this vital arena. Governor 
Reubin Askew was one of these individuals. Those who were fortunate 
enough to know him will be forever inspired by his example, and the 
entire Northwest Florida community is proud that such a great man and 
fine public servant hailed from the Florida Panhandle. On behalf of the 
entire United States Congress, my wife Vicki and I extend our deepest 
prayers and condolences to Governor Askew's wife, Donna Lou; his 
children, Kevin and Angela; his many grandchildren; and the entire 
Askew family.

                          ____________________