Tributes have been pouring in following the death early Thursday of former Florida Gov. Reubin Askew, remembered for having brought what one termed “moral leadership” to the state during his years in office.
Askew, a Democrat who served from 1971 to 1979, was 85. He died in Tallahassee.
“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,” said Gov. Rick Scott. “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.”
Scott ordered flags at public buildings to be placed at half-staff Thursday in Askew’s honor.
Florida Democratic Chair Allison Tant called Askew “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.”
Former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, now a Democrat challenging Scott, said, “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. “
House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, also said that Askew set a tone that still resonates for today’s state leaders.
“In Governor Askew, Florida has lost a leader who embodied what it means to be a true public servant,” Weatherford said. “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.”
Florida Republican Chairman Lenny Curry added, “Gov. 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,” Curry said.