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SCCF Remembers Bob Graham

April 28, 2024
Bob graham getting sworn in as florida gov in 1979

Bob Graham (left) being sworn in as Florida Governor in 1979. Public domain photo.

It is with great sadness and profound respect that SCCF acknowledges the April 16 passing of former Florida governor and environmental champion Bob Graham, who amassed a lifetime of achievements to safeguard the natural world.

Born on a cattle and dairy farm in 1936 within then Everglades County (now Miami-Dade County), Bob Graham spent his youth working his family’s land, enduring hurricanes, flooding, extreme heat, and encounters with dangerous wildlife. In other words — he knew Florida, and through these experiences developed a deep appreciation for its complex, unique ecology.

Bob graham (left) with three people in a black and white campaign photo for his senatorial run in 1986
Bob Graham (left) in his 1986 senatorial campaign postcard.

After graduating from the University of Florida and Harvard Law School, Graham began his career in 1966 as a progressive member of the Florida House of Representatives. Following this role, he served two terms as Florida’s governor (the first South Floridian to do so) from 1979-87 and was a U.S. Senator from 1987-2005.

bob graham 2001
Bob Graham in 2001.

Graham cherished Florida’s environment over all else and maintained that priority amid the state’s rise from predominantly rural communities to the third most populous state in the country.

While renowned for his understanding of issues such as offshore drilling, foreign policy, and intelligence, Graham also grasped the delicate connectivity of Florida’s ecosystems and took urgent action to protect them.

Widely regarded as having supported the most extensive environmental protections in the state’s history, among Graham’s greatest accomplishments were the Save Our Everglades and Save Our Coasts programs, which were landmark achievements providing much-needed protection at a time of rapid development in Florida.

SCCF’s CEO James Evans describes Graham as “a true champion of the Everglades,” a sentiment echoed by Everglades stakeholders far and wide.

Words used to describe Bob Graham often include “leader,” “visionary,” and “advocate,” but above all, anyone who met him remembers the resounding kindness of his character. Let us continually honor Graham’s blueprint for conservation through ongoing protection of the lands we love. Thank you for everything, Sen. Bob Graham. 


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