The death of former Gov. Reuben Askew should remind those of us who grew up in Florida in the 1950s and '60s of the once proud role our state played in leading the South in civil rights, public schools and universities, the environment, child welfare, regulation of public utilities, and development of its infrastructure.
Reuben Askew succeeded and preceded a remarkable group of governors: LeRoy Collins, Bob Graham, Bob Martinez and Lawton Chiles.
They were joined by many bipartisan, progressive members of the state Legislature.
Then Florida stumbled into the 21st century. Our political leaders now glory in incessant attacks on civil rights, the voting process, public education, health care for the poor, mass transit, government workers, scientific research, and government regulation of developers, firearms, insurance companies, and the environment.
Now the role of this often dysfunctional state is fodder for late-night comedians and has produced a growing crop of the best politicians that money can buy.