Born September 11, 1928 in Muskogee, Oklahoma; the former Florida Governor Askew Reubin passed away at age 85. He served as the 37th Governor of Florida from 1971 to 1979. He was one of the most charismatic reformer that the U.S. will ever continue to remember. Even after his death, his legacy reigns.
Late Askew took up the public stage after serving in the United States Army and Air Force from 1951 – 1953. As a graduate from the University of Florida’s Law School, Askew landed his first public career as an assistant county solicitor for Escambia County. He served in the Florida House of Representative before becoming a senator in 1962.
Askew’s hard work in the Senate earned him the position as president pro tempore of the senate and finally served as a governor for two terms in Florida. The passing away of the former governor of Florida is the painful sight of death that no mortal will stand to bear but it is an inevitable end and will come when it will come.
The contribution of this great man in the lives of the people of Florida and America as a whole is enormous. Askew was the first governor to appoint the first black Supreme Court Justice and member of Cabinet of the Southern state since reconstruction. Furthermore, he worked with the Cabinet to pardon two black men on Death Row, Freddie Pitts and Wilbert Lee, who were wrongfully convicted by an all-white jury for the killing of the gas station attendant in Port St. Joe.
As a reformist, he delivered on his campaign promise. In 1970, when he won the governor’s election by a landslide victory, Askew moved quickly to modernize the regressive tax system. He remarked that “The day is past, when the poor person’s, the little person’s voice is not going to be heard in Tallahassee.” This made businesses to pay more tax and reduce the burden on the average Floridians through repealing sales tax on household rent and electricity. Askew met a stiff resistance from big businesses like Winn-Dixie grocery chain and a business lobby association in Florida. However, he emerged victorious because was able to convince the voters to follow him and bypass the legislator. This is the most admiring ethical political game he will always be remembered for.
The passing away of the most former governor of Florida, Askew Reubin always referred to by his colleagues as “Sunshine” noted for his “Sunshine Amendment Act” was a force to reckon with in modern Floridian politics. The essence of amendment requires declaration of income source by public officials is one of the far most reaching amendments he championed.
Governor Askew taught in all major universities in Florida. He got pneumonia in December 2013. He had a fall and break his hip that led to a hip replacement surgery. His final public appearance was during the tribute of the late Justice Arthur England at the Florida Supreme Court in 2013. Askew is survived by his wife Donna Lou Harper, and two children, Kevin and Angela. May his soul rest in perfect peace.
Opinion By Bockarie Lansana