Bob Graham accepted a dare to teach a civics class. It led him to the governor’s mansion

Bob Graham accepted a dare to teach a civics class. It led him to the governor’s mansion

Florida Democrat Bob Graham, who served as governor from 1979 to 1987 and as a U.S. senator from 1987 until his 2005 retirement, died Tuesday at the age of 87. Graham, who won all five of his statewide elections by at least 9 points, was one of the most popular Democrats in the Sunshine State in recent memory, but he only achieved that status after pulling off a major upset in 1978.

Graham was the son of former state Sen. Ernest Graham, who lost a competitive primary in 1944 for governor at a time when Florida was ruled by conservative Democrats, as well as the half-brother of Washington Post publisher Philip Graham. Bob Graham became wealthy through real estate, which included his work transforming the family’s dairy and cattle farm into what is now the suburban community of Miami Lakes.

In 1966, Graham went on to win a state House seat in the Miami area in what was then Dade County (voters renamed it Miami-Dade County in 1997), and he won a promotion to the upper chamber four years later.

He was serving on the Senate Education Committee in 1974 when a high school teacher named Sue Reilly griped that none of the panel’s members had any experience teaching. Graham accepted her challenge to instruct a civics class. While he later admitted he didn’t think he’d ever find himself back in a classroom, the experience would unexpectedly set Graham on the path to statewide fame.

Powered by WPeMatico

Comments are closed.