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"He got along with everybody" - Tallahassee neighbors remember former Florida Governor Bob Graham

Graham's family announced his death Tuesday
Posted at 5:39 PM, Apr 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-17 18:52:48-04
  • Neighbors in Tallahassee are remembering the impact former Governor Bob Graham had on the community.
  • Graham—a proud Democrat—served -first a state legislator, then governor and finally a three-term U.S. Senator.
  • Watch the video above to hear from Tallahassee neighbors on his legacy.


A public servant for nearly five decades at the local, state and national level—thousands mourn the death of former US Senator and State Governor Bob Graham. I spent the day speaking with those we knew him about how he became one of the most accomplished politicians in Florida's history.

Bob Graham was known as a bridge both in life and in politics.

"He got along with everybody. He got along with the Republicans. He worked with them. He worked on legislation. Everybody liked him. Everybody respected him, which never changed," said Barry Richard who served in the Florida Legislature with Graham.

Graham—a proud Democrat—served -first a state legislator, then governor and finally a three-term U.S. Senator

"That man loved every element of this state, and he leaves a legacy that is frankly unparalleled, and that we're all going to have to strive to meet," added Rep. Allison Tant.

Florida State Representative Allison Tant and her husband Barry Richard, an attorney and former member of the Florida House of Representatives knew Graham well. Richard served in the state legislature when Graham was there as well. Tant a former intern of his.

"I got to go work in his office of planning and budgeting, and learned what smart, efficient government looks like, and should be like, and how it impacts the lives of everyday people."

They shared stories of Bob Graham behind the veil during his time in Tallahassee.

"He's now governor of the state of Florida, and I encountered him on Monroe Street. It was in front of Metro Delhi. And he had just played a role in a local rendition of the Off Broadway musical The Fantasticks. Missed it. And I told him, I was sorry, I'd missed it. So he just broke out singing," Richard shared.

Graham had a role in nearly every major public policy issue in modern Florida's history. On a state level his work preserving the Florida Everglades and his commitment to education is what many remember him for.

On a federal level--- he gained national prominence as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

At the Florida Historic Capitol Museum kids learning about Florida's history looking at material about Graham.

"He would have his notebook or some other sort of note taking device at one point. I saw him with an iPad when we met a few years ago, and he liked to keep detailed notes about his meetings with people so that he could follow up on either something that concerned you or maybe send you a thank you note after having met you," said Florida Historic Capitol Museum Director, Tiffany Baker.

Graham was known for his hundreds of "workdays" in which he spent a day in different parts of the state working various regular jobs.

"He just wanted to know everything about Florida. And he did it by learning it firsthand from the people who were doing it every day," added Tant.

Tant said Graham service is what she will remember most for. "Nobody did more than Bob Graham, for preserving the original state of Florida. And its beauty of natural resource than Bob Graham."

Richard says it was his legacy as a beloved statesman.

"The legacy he would want to have left more than anything else was a legacy of mutual respect between parties, and people, and they, people treating each other like dignified human beings, he would want to have seen a return to a time when we could debate issues without demonizing each other," Richard concluded.