Former Florida lawmaker and children's advocate Sam Bell has died
Sam Bell, a former powerful member of the Florida House and later a longtime lobbyist, died Tuesday night, according to an announcement from the office of his stepdaughter, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor.
Bell, a Democrat, represented Volusia County in the House from 1974 to 1988 and held high-ranking positions such as appropriations chairman. He was in line to become House speaker in 1988 but lost a re-election bid in his district.
Bell was married for 34 years to Betty Castor, a former state education commissioner and president of the University of South Florida. The announcement Wednesday from Kathy Castor’s office said he died after an “unexpected health complication.”
Bell lobbied for a wide range of clients after leaving the House but was heavily involved in children’s health-care issues.
Wednesday’s announcement said he “founded the University of South Florida College of Public Health and was considered the ‘father’ of the institution.”
Services were not immediately announced