Saturday, December 16, 2017
Politics

Local leaders reflect on life of Sam Gibbons

What people are saying

"Sam Gibbons was truly one of Tampa's greatest. … His legacy can be felt when our children achieve in our classrooms, when our seniors use Medicare at the doctor's office, when our loved ones are in hospice care and when students and researchers make a mark on campus at the University of South Florida. Tampa would not be what it is today without the work and dedication of Sam Gibbons."

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa

"He said, 'As long as you trade with people, you don't fight them.' "

Former Circuit Judge John Germany, who ran Gibbons' first legislative campaign in 1952, referring to the way that Gibbons' longtime support for free trade made him a leader "not only for this community, but for the country and for the world."

"His legacy is the University of South Florida. I know he had a great career in Congress, but he was the person who made USF happen."

Former USF president and state education commissioner Betty Castor

"When I first started in politics, I was told, 'Follow the Sam Gibbons model of constituent service.' If you called his office for anything, you got results. No constituent was left unattended. He took his district and the people he served seriously."

Former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio

"Sam was one of America's heroes. It was easy to tell, from his time as an Army paratrooper in World War II to his many years of dedicated public service, how much he loved his state and his country."

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida

"Sam Gibbons was an iconic figure in Tampa politics. He was the product of a time and place in American politics where your word mattered, civility was the currency and country came before party. His enduring legacy will be the many graduates of the University of South Florida, which is a world-class university today because of his tireless efforts."

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn

"The USF family has lost one of our true treasures. ... He was the founder and best friend of the University of South Florida. And he had a great vision for the powerful role of a university in building a community. He was Tampa Bay's great pioneer."

USF president Judy Genshaft

Compiled by Times staff writer Richard Danielson

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