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Reubin O’Donovan Askew

Gov. Reubin O’Donovan Askew

  • January 5, 1971 - January 2, 1979
  • Democratic
  • September 11, 1928
  • March 13, 2014
  • Oklahoma
  • University of Florida
  • Married Donna Lou Harper; two children
  • NGA Chair
  • Army


REUBIN O’DONOVAN ASKEW was born September 11, 1928 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. After graduating from high school he served in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper, 1946-47. He entered Florida State University where he served as student body president, graduating in 1951 with a B.S. degree in public administration. He served an additional two years of active duty in the Air Force during the Korean War. In 1956, he earned his law degree from the University of Florida Law School. Askew served as assistant Escambia County solicitor from 1956 to 1958. He was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1958 and to the State Senate in 1962, where he served as president pro tempore before resigning to run for governor in 1970. In 1974 he became the first Governor in Florida history to be elected to a second consecutive four-year term. During his two terms as governor, Askew was primarily involved in tax reform, especially in the increase of homestead exemption, and passage of the “Sunshine Amendment” which called for full financial disclosure by public officials and candidates. He chaired the Education Commission of the States (1973-1974), the Southern Governors’ Conference (1974-1975), and the Democratic Governors’ Conference (1976-1977). Governor Askew was chairman of the National Governors’ Conference in 1977. He has been a member of the First Judicial Circuit, Florida, and American Bar Association, Masons, Shrine, Rotary, and American Legion. Governor Askew ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1984.


Florida State Archives holds the official Governor papers of Reubin Askew.

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