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Askew’s Lessons Remembered As He Retires From Classroom

Regan McCarthy

Former Florida Governor Rubin Askew is preparing to retire after years of serving the state both as a lawmaker and an educator. Students and state officials honored Askew Monday for his contributions.

In the echo-prone old Senate chambers in Florida’s historic capital, lawmakers and community leaders shook hands with young students working toward careers in politics. Senate President Don Gaetz stops to talk with Lisa Schneider, a 25-year-old college student who says she's been involved with politics since she was 16.  Schneider and Gaetz are both her for the same reason--to recognize the achievements of former Florida Governor Reubin Askew.

And the room brought back some memories for Askew, who served part of his term in the building and even advocated for its demolition.

I spent a few years here. Some satisfactory, some not so satisfactory,” Askew said.

Askew was responsible for the push to get the Sunshine Amendments added to the state’s constitution – helping to create more transparency in state government.  And the former governor even helped Senate President Gaetz’s wife get a college education years ago.

“See, Governor Askew made it his business to complete State Road 20, all the way from Tallahassee to Okaloosa County. And he ensured that Interstate 10 would be finished all the way to Pensacola. And so, a young girl who only had the money in her pocket that she herself could earn, was able to travel back and forth from Fort Walton Beach to Gainesville on a good road and one tank of gas in order to go to college,” Gaetz said.

Since then, the governor has taught at many public universities in the state. Finally he settled at Florida State. But Askew said this will be his last year teaching at the school.  He said he hopes his students remember his teachings on compromise, sincerity and respect for others.  Oh, and one last piece of advice:

“All of you who haven’t run for office. Run! It’s a very sobering experience, isn’t it?”

Askew said when it comes to being a part of the political process,  a person is, “never too old and frankly never too young.”

For more news updates, follow @regan_mccarthy on Twitter!