TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-- Hundreds paid respect to former Governor Reubin Askew, who was the last governor to serve in the Historic Old Capitol. He was returned there Tuesday to lie in state.
Askew died last week at 85. He is best known for his staunch support for government in the sunshine, and even the heavens cooperated today.
The sun began shining for the first time in two days just before the hearse carrying the former Governor arrived at the old Capitol. Askew worked tirelessly for open government, eventually going around a reluctant legislature and passing the first citizens lead amendment, known as the Sunshine Amendment, to require public officials to disclose their finances.
Reubin Askew, Governor 1971-1979 "I'm doing your business. And frankly you have a right to know essentially what I'm doing."
Florida’s current governor and the three who followed Askew paid their respects to his widow, children and grandchildren. Former Attorney General Bob Butterworth says the former Governor lived up to his nickname.
"People would call him goody toe-shoes. In a positive way. Some people thought he was not going to be strong enough to be Governor. He might have been the strongest Governor we've ever had."
Former FSU President Sandy D’Alemberte will give the eulogy at Wednesday’s funeral service. He lauds Askew for voluntarily giving up the power to appoint judges.
"It's incredible to think about a governor saying, look I'm not going to appoint my friends."
In addition opening Government, Askew also appointed the first African Americans to high level state positions. Joseph Hatchett was the first African American appointed to serve on the state Supreme Court.
"He had the courage to take on new issues and to push the state forward," Hatchett said.
Governor Reubin Askew was the last Governor to actually have an office here in the Historic Capitol. The irony is, he was the leading proponent of tearing the building down. It was one of the few battles he ever lost.
Graveside services will be held in Pensacola, the city where Askew was first elected, on Friday.