Former US Senator and Florida Governor Bob Graham Dies at 87

Bob Graham ‘was a rare collection of public accomplishments and personal traits that combined to make him unforgettable,’ his family said in a statement.

Bob Graham, a former Democrat senator and Florida’s 38th governor, has died at the age of 87, his family announced.

Mr. Graham’s family revealed his death in a statement posted by his daughter Gwen Graham on the social media platform X on April 16.

“We are deeply saddened to report the passing of a visionary leader, dedicated public servant, and even more importantly, a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather,” the statement read.

“Bob Graham devoted his life to the betterment of the world around him,” it continued. “The memorials to that devotion are everywhere, from the Everglades and other natural treasures he was determined to preserve, to the colleges and universities he championed with his commitment to higher education, to the global understanding he helped to foster through his work with the intelligence community, and so many more.”

Mr. Graham’s family did not provide further details regarding his death, including where or exactly when he died or the cause of his death, however, the former lawmaker had previously suffered from various health issues; having had open heart surgery in 2003.

He was also left disabled by a stroke in 2020, according to the New York Times.

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In a separate statement to the Tallahassee Democrat, Mr. Graham’s wife, Adele, said her husband had passed away from old age in a retirement community in Gainesville.

“We’re very attached and love him so much, so proud of him,” she said in a phone interview with the publication. “He was an absolute devoted person in public service, to get things done for everybody.”

Career Spanning Decades

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Mr. Graham spent nearly four decades in public service at the local, state, and national levels, representing Florida.

He served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1966—beginning at the age of 29—and was re-elected in 1968 before joining the Florida Senate in 1970.

Mr. Graham served three terms in the upper chamber, representing parts of southwest Broward County and northwest Miami-Dade, before making a successful bid for governor in 1978, despite being a little-known politician.

He was re-elected again in 1982 and four years later, he won the first of three terms in the U.S. Senate when he ousted incumbent Republican Paula Hawkins.

During his time in the Senate, the Democrat chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee and co-led the congressional investigation into the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

He also authored legislation on education and the environment, including a bill requiring testing for competency and progress in public schools.

As governor, he also signed numerous death warrants, founded the Save the Manatee Club with entertainer Jimmy Buffett, and established various environmental programs, including the Save Our Everglades program to protect the state’s water supply, wetlands, and endangered species.

Bob Graham speaks in Gainesville, Fla., on Oct. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)
Bob Graham speaks in Gainesville, Fla., on Oct. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)

‘Bob Graham Was So Much More Than Really Good’

The Florida native was also a well-known critic of the Iraq war as well as George W. Bush—against whom he sought the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination—for failing to put in place an occupation plan after the U.S. military toppled Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq in 2003.

Mr. Graham ultimately called off his bid for the Democratic nomination after undergoing heart surgery in January 2003 to replace a deteriorating heart valve.

At the time, he told CNN that the surgery was due to a “heart murmur.”

He later decided not to seek reelection in 2004 and was replaced by Republican Mel Martinez in the Senate.

After leaving public life in 2005, Mr. Graham spent much of his time at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service, housed at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and pushed lawmakers to require more civics classes in the state’s public schools.

However, in the family’s statement announcing his passing on April 16, Mr. Graham’s daughter, Gwen Graham, who also served in Congress, said her father’s favorite title wasn’t governor or senator but something more unique.

“It was the name his grandchildren gave him: Doodle. ‘When I’m really good, they call me Super Doodle,’ he liked to say,” the statement read.

“For 87 years, Bob Graham was so much more than really good. He was a rare collection of public accomplishments and personal traits that combined to make him unforgettable. As his family, we will never forget his love for us, the love he had for Florida, the United States, and the world, and the love so many people showed him. We thank God for the gift of his life,” the family’s statement concluded.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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