Reaction to the death of Tampa civic leader Al Austin Thursday:
Gov. Rick Scott
"Ann and I are saddened by the loss of Al Austin, one of the most influential Floridians to ever call Tampa Bay home. Never a stranger to hard work, Al invested in the city he loved so much, and our state is a better place because of his vision. He was a champion of growth and development, higher education, and economic freedom for everyone. Today, Ann and I join all Floridians as we mourn Al. We send our condolences to his family and those closest to him."
State House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel
"The Tampa Bay community lost a titan in Al Austin. His legacy includes his tireless support for Republicans across Florida and the nation. The crown jewel of that legacy is bringing a Republican National Convention to Tampa. He will be missed by all."
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn
"Al Austin was a real estate pioneer who shaped the physical landscape of Tampa. He was the first to truly understand the value that being in close proximity to Tampa International Airport and Pinellas County could have on developing the West Shore Business District into what it is today.
"He believed in his country, his party, and the importance of public service. His decades-long effort to bring the Republican National Convention to Tampa will continue to pay dividends, and it would not have occurred without his hard work and faith.
"From his contributions to the University of Tampa to his work on behalf of MacDill Air Force Base, Al always put his city first. I will miss his guidance and remain grateful for all of he has done for Tampa."
Former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio
"What I would really want to highlight about Al Austin is his tenacity. When he decided that we were a large enough community to host the Republican National Convention, he simply was not going to quit until it was done. Period.
"There was no question in his mind that if you went after something, you would get it. I really, really liked that part of him more than anything else, that tenacity.''
U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Indian Shores
"The Bay area lost a friend, a philanthropist and community leader today with the passing of Al Austin. He was a trusted confidant and counselor to so many elected officials and was the driving force behind bringing the 2012 Republican National Convention to Florida. But his legacy and imprint on the region goes far beyond politics. Tampa Bay would not be what it is today without the investment Al and Beverly Austin have made in the development of our region, but more importantly in organizations that continue to serve our community and support those in need."
Ron Rotella, executive director of the Westshore Alliance
"To me, he was Mr. Westshore. I can't picture Tampa with him gone. There's very few people of Al's stature that are left in Tampa, and that's a big loss to this community. If Al got involved, he had the ability to make those contacts that very few other people could."
Former Gov. Charlie Crist
"Al was my friend and a true leader in our community. I am grateful for the guidance he provided to me over my career, and Carole and I are saddened by his passing."
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi
"I am deeply saddened to learn of Al Austin's passing. His tireless efforts on behalf of our country, our community, in pursuit of educational excellence and the Republican Party will long be remembered. Our thoughts and prayers are with Beverly, his family, and those of us who were mentored by his leadership, humbled by his patriotism, and inspired by his philanthropic endeavors."
Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Rohrlack
"Our community lost a tremendous business leader with the passing of Al Austin. He leaves behind a great legacy of civic leadership and community impact."
U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park
"With the passing of Al Austin, Florida has lost a great citizen, entrepreneur and builder of the Republican Party in Florida. This is a significant loss for the Tampa Bay area.
"Al was one of the area's strongest advocates, constantly striving to add positive development and economic opportunity to that region. Even as recently as yesterday, we were engaged with Mr. Austin in regard to his vision for a substantial development project he had proposed for downtown Tampa. Without Al Austin's efforts, the 2012 Republican National Convention would not have taken place in the Tampa Bay area, nor would the GOP in Florida have grown to its position of prominence. "