TALLAHASSEE, Fla. An icon of Florida politics has died. Florida's 37th Governor, Reubin Askew died Thursday morning at age 85. A dark horse candidate in 1970, Askew is credited with ethics reform, creating a fair tax system, and restoring confidence in government.
Reubin Askew became one of the most respected governors in America. As a state Senator from Pensacola, Askew championed racial equality and the fair drawing of legislative districts.
In this 2001 interview, he recounted threats made by the power structure at the time. "He told me I would never see a university in West Florida if I kept voting that way and as brazen as I was, I looked him square in the eye and I said, 'Dewey, I'm going to get a university and I'm gonna be here after you're gone.'"
Florida's 37th governor championed financial disclosure for public officials, going around a reluctant legislature. "I'm doin' your business and frankly you have a right to know essentially what I'm doing."
Current Senate President Don Gaetz of Niceville calls it a landmark of integrity. "Florida became the model for America in open government because of what Reubin Askew did."
As Governor Askew usually got what he wanted from lawmakers, keeping score cards on how they voted and threatening them with calls to their editorial board.
Guy Spearman is a former Askew Aide. "There was no question you knew where he stood. There was not ever a doubt as to what his position was."
"The first time I ever asked Reubin Askew a question back in 1974, he yelled at me. "I'm just sayin' what you wrote was an unfair story." Generally liked by the press, Askew didn't mince words when something was written he didn't like.
In this 1978 clip, he takes a Miami Herald reporter to task for a story on a trade mission to Japan. "I don't care if we'd a gone in the bottom of a cargo ship, you would have said it was a junket."
Askew will lie in state at the Old Capitol, which ironically he once wanted torn down, but later admitted he was wrong.
After his service as eight years as Governor, Askew went on to teach at nine of the state's universities, ending his career teaching political science and government at Florida State, where the Askew School of Public Administration still operates today.
A funeral service will be held in Tallahassee, with burial in in his hometown in Pensacola where he once owned a FM radio station.