Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Politics

Reubin Askew's legacy: Five key accomplishments

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TALLAHASSEE — Former Gov. Reubin Askew's legacy touched every aspect of life in Florida. Here are five of his most significant accomplishments:

• Ethics: Championed stronger ethics laws and won passage of the Sunshine Amendment, the first voter-approved change to the Florida Constitution, in 1976, which required elected officials to disclose their personal finances.

• Courts: Modernized a creaky and patronage-ridden judiciary by creating nominating commissions for vacant judgeships and the first merit retention system for appellate judges.

• Diversity: Made the first African-American appointments to the Florida Supreme Court, Cabinet and as head of a state agency. He also strongly supported peaceful acceptance of busing to achieve desegregation of public schools, which was unpopular at the time.

• Taxation: Successfully led the "fair share" campaign to adopt Florida's first tax on corporate profits, approved by voters in a special statewide referendum in 1971 by more than a 2-to-1 margin.

• Gambling: Led a crusade to defeat a South Florida casino gambling referendum in 1978, but the result led to the demise of eight proposed constitutional amendments, including a state equal rights amendment, elimination of the cumbersome Cabinet and creation of an independent statewide redistricting commission.

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