Governor: Elected 1978, reelected 1982
Bob Graham served as the 38th Governor of Florida. He was recognized for providing strong leadership during a time of explosive population growth and dramatic challenges, including a truckers' strike, civil disturbances and immigration crises.
• Economic Development: While serving as governor, Graham worked to diversify Florida's economy. During his administration, the unemployment rate in Florida remained well below the national average; more than one million new jobs were created, many of them in high-tech manufacturing. Florida's business climate was ranked No. 1 in the nation for three consecutive years, 1981-1983.
Expanding trade opportunities for Florida business was an important element of Graham's tenure as governor. While the balance of all U.S. trade ran a deficit, Florida's exports exceeded imports through the majority of Graham's administration.
• Education: Recognizing that a vital component of economic strength is a quality education system, Graham worked to improve all public schools during his eight years as Florida's governor.
Key indicators of excellence in education rose under Graham. Class sizes in public schools decreased, while teacher salaries increased. Per pupil spending rose from 21st to 13th in the nation in four years. The percentage of community college and university students surpassing required standards on basic skills test climbed from 64 percent to 89 percent over three years during the Graham administration.
Graham's efforts in education have been recognized nationally. In 1983, the Chief State School Officers Association recognized Graham for making the "Most Outstanding Contribution to Education" in America.
• Environment: As governor, Graham pioneered several environmental programs which have attracted national and international attention, including efforts to save the Everglades, protect wetlands and safeguard Florida's coastline.
During Graham's two terms as governor, Florida brought more environmentally endangered lands into public ownership than any other state in the nation. This included acquisition of sensitive lands surrounding rivers, beaches and barrier islands.
The Save Our Everglades program, launched in 1983, was designed to restore America's "River of Grass" and protect Florida's wetlands, endangered species and their habitats. As Senator, Graham led the bipartisan coalition that passed the federal Everglades restoration plan in 2000. Today, Graham is known as the father of the Everglades Restoration effort.
• Health Care and Human Services: During the Graham administration, policies that aimed to help both Florida's aging population and its youngest citizens were implemented.
By expanding "Community Care for the Elderly," a service program which enables frail or infirm older citizens to remain in their homes, Graham helped ensure self-sufficiency and independence for older Floridians. This resulted in less than 2 percent of Florida's elderly residing in nursing homes, versus 5 percent nationally.
In eight years, Graham was able to expand child care and abuse prevention programs, increase prenatal and neonatal medical attention, and expand emergency medical facilities for infants and mothers. With these programs, both infant mortality and neonatal mortality decreased significantly.
• Organizations: While governor, Graham served as a chairman of the Southern Governors Association, the Education Commission of the States, the Southern Regional Educational Board, the National Advisory Commission on School Finance, the U.S. Intergovernmental Advisory Council on Education, and the Southern Growth Policies Board. ~~
Answered By: ........... - 3/6/2010