Wayne Mixson

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Wayne Mixson
John Wayne Mixson.jpg
39th Governor of Florida
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 6, 1987
Preceded by Bob Graham
Succeeded by Bob Martinez
12th Lieutenant Governor of Florida
In office
January 2, 1979 – January 3, 1987
Governor Bob Graham
Preceded by Jim Williams
Succeeded by Bobby Brantley
Personal details
Born (1922-06-16) June 16, 1922 (age 96)
New Brockton, Alabama, U.S.
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Margie Grace
Alma mater Columbia University
University of Pennsylvania
University of Florida
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Battles/wars World War II

John Wayne Mixson (born June 16, 1922) is an American politician who served as the 39th Governor of the U.S. state of Florida. He assumed the office in January 1987 after Bob Graham stepped down to take his seat in the United States Senate, and served only three days until the governor-elect, Bob Martinez, was sworn in. He also served as a Special Ambassador to Ecuador, being appointed to this post by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.[1]

Life and career

Born in New Brockton, Alabama, immediately after graduating from high school he moved to Jackson County, Florida. He served in the United States Navy during World War II. Following the war, he attended Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania. In 1947, he received a degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida, where he was tapped in to Florida Blue Key. He was also a member of Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity.[2] Also in the same year, he married his wife, Margie Grace. His political career began with the Florida House of Representatives, serving six consecutive terms. He chaired House Agriculture Committee for 8 years. Mixson was a full-time farmer during his tenure as state legislator and developed a reputation as pro-agruculture business legislator.[1]

Mixson decided against seeking re-election to the State House in order to run for Lieutenant Governor. He won the primary running on a ticket headed by gubernatorial nominee Bob Graham. They were elected in 1978 and re-elected in 1982, which made Mixson the first Lieutenant Governor of Florida to be elected more than once to that position. During his second term, he also served as Florida's Secretary of Commerce, being appointed by Gov. Graham to this role. Mixson decided to retire from active political life with end of his term as Lt. Governor and did not seek to succeed Graham as Governor. State representative Steve Pajcic became the Democratic nominee in 1986, but lost to Republican Bob Martinez.

Mixson would become Graham's successor after all, however briefly, after Graham was elected to the United States Senate. Florida's "resign-to-run" law requires an incumbent office holder seeking another elective office to submit an irrevocable resignation from the office they currently hold unless that tenure would end anyway before they would assume the new position if elected. The candidate may designate the effective date of the resignation to be in the future, but it must be no later than the date that they would assume the new office. This compelled Graham to submit his resignation as Governor early in 1986 when he began to campaign for the U.S. Senate seat. He chose January 3, 1987 as the effective date of his resignation, as that was the date new Senators would be sworn in. The term as Governor to which he had been elected in 1982 would not end, however, until January 6, 1987.

This sequence of events left Mixson to assume the office of Governor for just those three overlapping days. Even if Graham had lost the Senate race, his prior resignation as Governor could not have been withdrawn under Florida law, so Mixson would still have become Governor on January 3 and served out the remaining days of the term to which Graham had been elected. His brief tenure as Florida's 39th governor involved Mixson attending to countless appointments former Governor Graham had left unfilled in the final months of his term, and presiding over a special Monday cabinet meeting. The Mixsons during their brief residency in the Florida Governor's mansion occupied the first floor guestroom.[3] By virtue of his holding office for three days, Mixson is (as of 2014) the oldest Governor of Florida who is still alive.

Mixson holds an honorary doctorate from the Florida Institute of Technology. He has served on several boards of directors, including Bankers Insurance Company and the First Community Bank in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he serves as chairman, First Community Insurance Company of Rochester, New York, the Florida Economic Club, Florida Tax Watch, the University of Florida Foundation, and the North Florida Community Foundation.

During the 2004 presidential election, Mixson crossed party lines to endorse the re-election of President George W. Bush, joining Zell Miller.[4] Previously, however, he backed a bid of his predecessor Bob Graham, who briefly sought Democratic presidential nomination.[5]

As of 2005 Mixson has decided to rejoin the Democratic column, endorsing State Senator Rod Smith (D-Alachua) in the Democratic primary for Governor of Florida. Mixson also agreed to serve as a Co-Chairman of Sen. Smith's campaign, which drew criticism from some leading Florida Democrats.

He has also endorsed some other Republican candidates, including Jeb Bush and Bill McCollum.[6]

Mixson is viewed widely as a conservative Democrat.[7]

In 2014 the Florida State Senate designated Highway 73 out of Marianna Florida to be known as Governor Wayne Mixson Highway. Both Governor and Mrs. Mixson were present for the dedication ceremony in September 2014.[8]

Electoral history

Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor - September 12, 1978

Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor runoff - October 5, 1978

  • Wayne Mixson - 482,535 (53.55%)
  • Jim Glisson - 418,636 (46.46%)

Florida gubernatorial election - November 7, 1978

Florida gubernatorial election - November 2, 1982


External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Jim Williams
Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Florida
1978, 1982
Succeeded by
Frank Mann
Political offices
Preceded by
Jim Williams
Lieutenant Governor of Florida
January 2, 1979–January 3, 1987
Succeeded by
Bobby Brantley
Preceded by
Bob Graham
Governor of Florida
January 3–6, 1987
Succeeded by
Bob Martinez