Former Florida Governor Bob Graham leaves lasting legacy in home state: ‘Devoted Floridian’

Former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham served more than four decades in public service. He led the Senate Intelligence Committee, the congressional investigation into the September 11th attacks, and drove lasting change in his home state of Florida

He died Tuesday at the age of 87, leaving a striking legacy of achievements, and a large family he always considered his greatest accomplishment. 

Graham’s family released a statement noting, "Bob Graham would tell people his favorite title was not Governor or Senator. It was the name his grandchildren gave him: Doodle. 'When I'm really good, they call me Super Doodle,' he liked to say. For 87 years, Bob Graham was so much more than really good."

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As Florida’s 38th governor, Graham kicked off the effort to restore the Everglades and preserve what was left of the swampy grasslands that play a critical role in Florida’s ecosystem. 

He also signed a growth management law that helped contain urban sprawl in Florida for nearly 30 years and led his state through an economic boom that set a foundation for the job growth to come. 

Graham left office as governor with an 83% approval rating, earning respect from his fellow Democrats and Republicans like his successor, former Governor Bob Martinez. 


"Not only was he a good public official. He was a real great guy, easy to work with and always polite. I think he was always on the right side of issues," said Martinez. "He didn't wear his partisanship and neither did I on our sleeves. It was just a question of government."

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In the U.S. Senate Graham criticized the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. He was also an outspoken critic of Saudi Arabia’s role in the War on Terror. 

Graham said classified records implicate the Saudi government in the September 11th attacks and pressed for their full release. 

After a failed U.S. presidential bid, Graham retired from the U.S. Senate, led the Bob Graham Center at University of Florida and wrote a book on the value of civics education. 

As a private citizen, Graham was a driving force in increasing civics education in public schools. He also co-chaired the investigation into the BP oil disaster, and recommended changes to prevent a future disaster. 

President Joe Biden said "Bob Graham was a colleague, friend and devoted Floridian whose nearly 50 years of service to his beloved home state and to our country have made America a safer and stronger nation."

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