Citation
Interview with Governor Farris Bryant, March 1979

Material Information

Title:
Interview with Governor Farris Bryant, March 1979
Creator:
Bryant, Farris ( Interviewee )
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Politics and government -- Florida -- 20th century
Florida and Politics Oral History Collection ( local )

Notes

Funding:
This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.

Record Information

Source Institution:
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location:
This interview is part of the 'Florida Politics' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management:
Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.
Resource Identifier:
FP 64 ( SPOHP IDENTIFIER )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text



COPYRIGHT NOTICE


This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of
Florida.

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.

This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limts the amount of material that may be
used.

For all other permissions and requests, contact the
SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida









FP 64
Interviewee: Farris Bryant
Interviewer: Ray Washington
Date: March 1979


W: This is an interview with Farris Bryant, former governor of Florida, which took
place in March 1979 at his office building, the Voyager Insurance Company in
Jacksonville, Florida. The discussions took place over a period of two days, only
some of which would be included on this tape. Side one was on one day. Side
two would be on another. The portions of the conversations selected for tape
were those which dealt more specifically with his philosophies and his actions as
governor [1961-1965]. The only voices are those of myself and Governor Bryant.
Your first entrance into politics was in the House of Representatives in 1942?

B: Yes, that is correct.

W: This was the first office you held?

B: Yes, [but] I never served. I resigned before the first session to go into the
service.

W: Was there one representative from Marion County at that time? One senator?

B: There were two representatives and one senator.

W: When you returned from the service, did you run again for the same [office]?

B: Yes, in 1946 I ran and continued to serve through 1956.

W: Did another fellow run for the office and have it while you were gone or...

B: Yes, one of the chaps I had defeated had been a veteran of World War I.

W: He was an older fellow.

B: Right. He served during that time.

W: Did you find yourself having to run against him again when you got back or did
he drop out of it?

B: No, he dropped out of it, and so I did not have to run against him.

W: In the 1956 gubernatorial election--I was curious to know--in those days a lot of
the governors had the political spectrum idea of left and right. Do you have any









FP 64
Page 2

idea in your own mind of how your own philosophy would rank with Earl Warren
[Earl Warren, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1954-1969] and LeRoy
Collins [LeRoy Collins, governor of Florida, 1955-1961], [and] of how you would
fit on that spectrum?

B: There was a third man in there, fourth man, Sumter Lowry [gubernatorial
candidate in 1956]. I would say that at that time, so far as philosophy is
concerned--I do not mean the practical implications of philosophy--but if [each of
us] had been writing a book, there would not have been too much difference.

W: Now Sumter Lowry would be included?

B: Sumter would have been different.

W: I see, but as far as you four, LeRoy Collins, etc.

B: That is correct.

W: All right. I was in one of the interviews with Millard Caldwell [Millard F. Caldwell,
governor of Florida, 1945-1949] in Tallahassee, [and] I asked him, what governor
do you feel most comfortable with as far as philosophy. He said, Farris Bryant.

B: Yes.

W: He said you would not agree with this, but your announced philosophy is a lot
more liberal, [and] that your practical philosophy is about right.

B: Well, he is [making] an interesting [point], and I understand what he is saying.
Actually, I suppose my practical politics are probably a bit more liberal than my
public statements would evidence--not because of any deception. Simply
because as I approached the solution of problems, I think I became more
pragmatic, and sometimes that pragmatism required some changes in
philosophy. For instance, I will give you a broad illustration. When you are
running for office, you want 51 percent of the votes or 52 or 55 [percent]. When
you are governor, you represent 100 percent of the votes. There is a difference.
In running for office, you have to please the majority. But when you have the
responsibility as governor, your responsibility is to everybody, and you simply
have to recognize the viewpoints and the rights of even those who disagree with
you on basic philosophic grounds.
W: And this comes as you are in office of governor and you go into ...









FP 64
Page 3

B: A problem arises and you might say, I am a stern conservative, to heck with
them. You cannot do that. If you are going to be a governor of Florida or hold
any political office, you have to consider the views and the interests of
everybody.

W: There is an interesting way of approaching problems that LeRoy Collins
presented. I think people said the difference he had [with] Dan McCarty [Daniel
T. McCarty, governor of Florida, 1953], when they asked him, how [do] you stand
on this [certain issue], he said his philosophy was a pragmatic view. If you can
get something done, devote your energy to that instead of using a shotgun and
blasting out. What Collins said, McCarty was opposed to, and he thought you did
not have to necessarily believe you could get something accomplished in order to
do it.

B: Well, I think it is a valid comment by Governor Collins and I should be more on
the McCarty side. I tried to measure myself by what I accomplished.

W: By what you could get a visible feel for.

B: That is correct. I certainly recognize the validity of what Collins is saying in that
in the long scheme of [events], perhaps your philosophical approach is
unimportant whether you accomplish anything or not. But if there are people who
are hungry or mistreated today or who are trying to exercise their opportunities
as Americans today, my making a great speech about it--which has no effect--
seems to me to be not the most useful [action to take]. The most useful [plan] is
to meet their problems.

W: I understand.

B: Right. I found that the most important part of being governor was making
decisions, because until the governor makes a decision, nothing happens, that is,
in areas for which he is responsible. People around with resources--with
machines, with pencils--are ready to carry out a program, but somebody has to
decide. I think sometimes it is more important to make a decision and move on
than it is to sit back and philosophize about it or generalize about it. To bring you
down to its simplest illustration: You are going to build a road between town A
and town B. There are a thousand different routes you can follow, each of them
has advantages and disadvantages, and you can agonize over which is the right
one. The important [point] is to make a decision and build the road. It will not be
perfect and there will be some injustices done and some benefits derived, but
keep your eye on the ball and build the road the best you can. You have to just
go ahead and do it.









FP 64
Page 4

W: It will not extend to predict the future anyway, I guess.

B: That is correct. When you have done all the studies you can do, you are
probably still going to be wrong in your decisions.

W: I wanted to ask you about Marion County [during] the time that you were growing
up. Were your folks from there?

B: Yes, sir.

W: How long had they been there?

B: Since 1890.

W: What part of the country did they come from?

B: Missouri. My father came as a boy of five. My mother was born in Marion
County [as were] her parents. It was my father's family who came in 1890. [As
to] my mother's family, it was before that [time]. They are from Charleston, South
Carolina.

W: What was the political atmosphere in Marion County at the time you were
growing up there? Over in Bradford County, when I was talking to Charley Johns
[Charley E. Johns, acting governor of Florida, 1953-1954], I was struck by the
political county back in that time. Everybody was in politics heading toward
Tallahassee. Was that kind of atmosphere in Marion County? Were there a lot
of people interested in politics? What got you interested in politics?

B: See this watch? That watch was given to my uncle in 1913, my mother's brother
[Ion L. Farris]. And she adored him.

W: He had been in [politics] around the turn of the century?

B: Yes, he was the speaker of the House in 1913.

W: You were named for [him]?

B: That is correct. And my mother, the day I was born, had my father hold me up
and she said, hello, governor. So I can tell you that I have no memory of a time
when I was not going to be governor of Florida. It is just that she started me off.
I was taking declamation lessons and studying civics and government through all









FP 64
Page 5

those years. As a child, I just assumed that I was going to be governor or [some
other high-ranking politician]. I had to get ready.

W: There was sort of [an incentive] in the back of your mind.

B: That is correct. That is why I am not really a natural politician, as many people
would term it. I am sure if you picked someone with ideal qualities for a
successful politician, you would not pick me. But my mother was a very
determined person, obviously a great influence in my life.

W: Had your uncle wanted to be governor also?

B: He ran for governor. He served twice as speaker of the House. He was the first
speaker to do that.

W: During World War I?

B: From 1913 to 1917 and then he ran for governor in 1918 and was unsuccessful
[he actually ran unsuccessfully in the gubernatorial Democratic primary of 1916].
Just this morning, in my den at home, I found a scrapbook of his campaigns. I
said to myself, I have to get that down to the University of Florida library. It is
really a ledger book, an old bookkeeping ledger book [which contains] newspaper
clippings of his campaigns.

W: All over the state?

B: Yes. And I have given my papers to the University of Florida, but I have not
delivered all [the papers] to them. I want to deliver that one to UF because it is
really a historic piece.

W: Did your uncle live long enough to be an encouragement to you?

B: Not really. He lived in Jacksonville. My home is in Ocala, and I saw him
infrequently.

W: What sort of business was your father in?

B: My father was a farm boy [but] he became a certified public accountant. He was
a member of the first board of CPAs in Florida and that was always his business.

W: The way you talk, you inferred that the politics came more from your mother.









FP 64
Page 6

B: Entirely.

W: I see.

B: My father had no political interests at all and my mother died.

W: When you were first elected to the [Florida] House of Representatives, were your
parents still alive at that time?

B: Both of them were alive then. My mother died during World War II, and so she
never saw me serve in the legislature. My father died in 1949, so he never even
knew that I was speaker of the House, as far as that is concerned.

W: What sort of forces were going on in your education? I noticed you went to
Emory first before you went to the University of Florida. I was curious about what
would take you up to Atlanta instead of the University of Florida.

B: I do not know why Emory was selected.

W: Were you there for a couple of years?

B: One year. I was only fifteen when I graduated from high school. I was there one
year, and I did not want to go back the second year. I was involved with a girl.

W: From your hometown?

B: That is right. Emory was too far away, so my father put me on the train [and] on
the way to Emory, I got off in Gainesville. [He] did not know it for several weeks!

W: And you finished there in three more years.

B: That is right.

W: [Did] the law school at Florida require a four-year degree before entering?

B: No, it did not. It was just beginning to phase into that. At that time, you could
take three years of undergraduate [courses] and two years in law and have both
degrees. No, [you] just [needed to] have the one degree, I believe. But you were
a lawyer at the end of that five-year span.

W: You had never been interested in taking that route?









FP 64
Page 7

B: No, I had not.

W: Who initially had the Harvard idea?

B: My mother.

W: She figured that would help you in politics?

B: No. She just thought that it was the best law school in the country, and she
wanted her son to have the best there was. That was just basically it.

W: How old were you when you entered Harvard?

B: Twenty.

W: You graduated when you were twenty-three?

B: Twenty-three.

W: How old were you when you were elected to the legislature?

B: In 1942, I was twenty-eight.

W: You had practiced law for five years before that?

B: No. I graduated from law school in 1938. I tried to get a job as a lawyer in
Florida. The most money I could get was $50 per month. I got two offers of $50
per month.

W: What towns were they in?

B: Tallahassee and Orlando. I could not live on $50, and I did not want to be
dependent on my family anymore, so I went up to Tallahassee and got a job as
an adding machine operator. They called me an auditor for the state of Florida. [I
was a] controller at $120 a month, and I stayed there a year-and-a-half and then
got married and moved back to Ocala and opened my own law office.
W: In private practice?

B: Correct. I was there when World War II began and I quit.

W: So you had more or less gone to Tallahassee to get your financial footing?









FP 64
Page 8

B: Right. I was in Ocala for little more than a year, and so I had not really practiced
law when the war began.

W: When you ran for office, was that after war had been declared?

B: No, before.

W: Actually, the election was in May, but in those days, you started running in
November of the preceding year. That was just the pattern. And I had
announced in November and then, of course, in December 1941 war was
declared. Then I immediately wrote to the navy and said, I volunteer. But the
navy did not act on my volunteering until a little later. In the meantime, until I
heard from the navy, I kept running. That is how it happened.

W: But you were in the navy before you were in the [Florida] House?

B: That is right. I went into the navy probably in May or before that.

W: Was there a special election to fill your seat?

B: Yes.

W: Had you made any long-range plan [at age] twenty-eight, when you should run
for the legislature, and it just happened that you were in Ocala at that time? You
knew eventually it was going to happen, but it was just a matter of being in the
right position.

B: Right. First of all, I had to be able to make a living. The pay in the legislature
was $6 a day, for sixty days, every two years, or $360 for two years' service.
There is no way you can get along on your legislative pay. You had to be making
a living in order to be in the legislature.

W: Speaking of that, I will just ask you on the record or off the record, what your
opinion is of the proposed pay raise to the legislature.
B: Well, it is a difficult [question] to answer because first of all, when you get a
professional legislator, I think the decision is, shall you make him a professional
legislator? That decision has been made. I would have been opposed to it. I
think it should still be on a voluntary basis, more or less, a non-paying basis, but
it is not. That decision has been made, and I really do not have an opinion on
the difference between $12,000 and whatever else we are talking about.









FP 64
Page 9

W: Do you think a state that is growing and as complex as Florida still should have a
non-professional ...

B: It would be a lot better off, in my judgment.

W: What about a session every two years instead of every one year?

B: I like that, too. I think it is all part of [having] too much government. But that is
my opinion.

W: [Could you] make a breaking point [about the] time when Florida politics changed
from the simple way? When you were governor, you told me that the staff knew
people at the head of every agency. You actually knew those people. You knew
what was going on.

B: Sure.

W: Was that still the case when you were governor?

B: Yes, it was.

W: Is there a point you can name, in general, when that change was made?

B: No. I think it has a lot to do with style. It is not that there are so many more
agencies now. A governor can still know the controlling people in his
government, but you have so many aides. You delegate so much today.

W: You think that is more style than necessity?

B: Yes, I do.

W: So it was not necessarily the change in time, but the change in people who came
into office.
B: It was a change in times, too. Times change, styles [change], and another factor
is the huge amount of money available now. For instance, when I was governor,
you had one highway patrol aide and that was it. Now [governors] have seven or
eight. There are no more hours in the day now than there were then. The
governor does not travel anymore now than he did then. But in those days, if you
would have seven or eight highway patrol aides, they would have been climbing
the walls to get at you. For instance, the state had never furnished a governor an
airplane when I became governor. I bought a second-hand Aerocommander for
$50,000, and then I had a mapping camera put in there on a detachable sort of









FP 64
Page 10

basis so that when I was not using it, they used it for mapping roads. Still, there
was a great hue and cry about spending all that money on an airplane. Today,
you spend a couple of million [dollars] on a jet, [and] nobody thinks anything
about it. But that is style, not just the governor's style, but just the style of
government at this time.

W: More money.

B: Yes.

W: Right. You are in Jacksonville, so it probably came home to you pretty close, this
mayor's race. I never thought I would see a mayor's race cost a half a million
dollars. Did it cost more than your campaign for governor?

B: No, it did not.

W: OK. Certainly in this last gubernatorial race [Bob Graham versus Jack Eckerd in
election of 1978], there was more money involved than in the race you had [in
1960]. $10 million.

B: I suppose, there were ten Democratic candidates when I ran.

W: You are talking about the second time [in 1960].

B: That is right. And I suppose the total expenditures were about $6 or $7 million. It
was a lot of money.

W: So [it was] an expensive operation to run for governor. When you ran, it was
expensive.

B: It really was, and it was real dollars.

W: If you were of age and of inclination to run for governor today [1979], what would
you do differently than you did in 1960?

B: In 1960, and this is an overstatement, I knew everybody in Florida. I had been
traveling in the state continuously for ten years. I had made a speech at every
Rotary Club and every church. You name it, I had been there. Every strawberry
festival [and other major events], I had been there. In every town I knew the
leadership of that community, and when I say "every," I mean just that: every. I
knew who the people were. Today, that is impossible. Today, a governor has
been so well displayed that everybody pretty much knows him. A fellow, who is









FP 64
Page 11

running for governor and trying to get exposure, can walk through condominiums
and supermarkets and nobody knows him. Literally. That was not so. But I
knew people. So in those days, I cultivated my memory at that time and I could
[recall] the names of thousands of people. I made it a point to do so. That was
one of the arts. But today [when] a governor comes here, you do not expect him
to know [everybody]. He will know a few people, but you do not expect him to
know any great number of people. I knew them and I knew their wives in most
instances. It was just different.

W: [Are members of] the media more involved in the campaign today?

B: Much more. If you do not reach them through the media, you cannot reach them.
That is true, so true.

W: Coming from small Ocala--I have trouble saying that Marion County is small.

B: It is. It was and it is.

W: Coming from that sort of background, do you have any feelings about the way
the state is going through growth? I know that you have a business background.
I am sure that is good.

B: I will tell you how I have expressed it. During the time that I was governor, I
worked hard to try to make Florida grow, and it was always sad to see.
Obviously, it is a more pleasant place without the constant turmoil and change. I
would rather walk down the street and know everybody. Now I walk down the
street and I see strangers. Then I walked down the street and I saw friends.
That is the difference, and, of course, those earlier, less chaotic days were more
pleasant, but that is just dreaming. Florida will never stop growing. We will enter
a statistic that has always fascinated me. From 1830 down to 1950, Florida
doubled in population every twenty years. From 1950 to 1960, it doubled again.
Now it continues to grow, and Florida will always grow that way. I am speaking
in terms of life spans, not eternities. But Florida has qualities that the people of
this country want, and they are going to continue to come here. It is not a
question of whether it is going to grow. It is going to be a question of how we will
manage that growth to make it better.

W: So is it unrealistic to shout about? Was 1956 the only political election you ever
lost?









FP 64
Page 12

B: No. First of all, I ran for speaker of the House. I was elected; I first served in the
House in the session of 1947 and in 1949. I ran for speaker of the House and
was defeated. In 1953, I ran again and was selected.

W: Within the House?

B: That is right. Then I ran for the [United States] Senate in 1970 and lost that
election. I won the first primary, but lost in the general election [to Lawton Chiles
474,420 to 247,211].

W: Which was most upsetting to you? When you lost in 1970 or lost in 1956? I do
not mean "upsetting"--I mean that caused you the most regret for entering the
race?

B: I never regretted entering. I have never entered a race where there was not a
great benefit and tremendous experience. So I regret having done [deeds] that
perhaps caused me to lose, or not having done [deeds] that would have caused
me to win. But I do not ever regret having run for office. It is a great,
broadening, enriching experience. But [to] try to give some sort of a positive
answer to your question, they were quite different. My problem in the race of
1970 was that I was not prepared. In 1956, I was prepared. There had been a
confluence of circumstances. My plans had been to run in 1956. Dan McCarty
died in 1953.

W: You did not count on having to run against someone who had been in office?

B: No. The constitution says you may not be re-elected. So I read the constitution
and got some advice [from] attorneys. They said, if you run now, you will just
have a three-year term and you cannot run again. Well, I did not want to do that.
So I said, OK, I am not going to run in 1954, I will run in 1956. That [did not turn]
out to be a wise decision because the Florida Supreme Court, a few days before
the election, said that Collins, who had been elected in 1954 [to fulfill Dan
McCarty's term], could run for re-election.

W: Of course, if you had gone ahead and run in 1954, you never could tell how the
Florida Supreme Court would have acted again.

B: No way.

W: Collins won in the first primary.









FP 64
Page 13

B: Yes. He won, Sumter [L. Lowry] was second, I was third and Fuller [Warren] was
fourth.

W: Do you see your defeat as a steppingstone?

B: Yes. I started running for governor again the next day. I never quit on the idea.
Now, in 1970, I had developed some obligations to this operation here.

W: When did you move to Jacksonville?

B: 1965.

W: Immediately after?

B: And I had planned not to run because I did not have the time, but then they
passed a law changing the election date from May to September, and I thought
maybe that will give me time. But it did not. I did not lay the groundwork
properly, did not do my homework properly.

W: After that election, did you make a conscious decision to avoid seeking other
political office?

B: No, I did not.

W: You left yourself flexible to circumstances.

B: I tried. You can never tell what is going to happen. So I always leave the door
open, even though I have absolutely no plans to do anything. I see no point in
barring yourself from one course or another.

W: The way you were speaking, the gubernatorial election was something you had
envisioned from childhood?

B: Right.

W: And you had accomplished that, something [that] came to you naturally.

B: Right.

W: You think being out of the public light for that long was a factor?









FP 64
Page 14

B: The [point] that was a factor was that the political environment in Florida had
changed and I had not. The Vietnam War, environmental issues, the egalitarian
philosophy that had developed all made a large impact on the population of
Florida, that political entity, but I am not an egalitarian. I was not disaffected by
the Vietnam War, and I really think in that period of time [that] the
environmentalists were extreme in their views. But, nevertheless, they were the
majority in that time. I continued to espouse the Cross-Florida Barge Canal. But
obviously it had no great appeal across a broad spectrum, and there were many
people who were very much opposed to it. But I thought it was good and I was
for it.

W: Have you changed now?

B: No, I am still for it. It is a great mistake not to build that canal, a great mistake for
which we will pay, but I am sure that my views do not represent the majority
feeling.

W: Would your views carry over on nuclear energy now?

B: I think we have to develop. Now, I have never made a study of these problems.

W: Right.

B: I understand the canal, I studied the problems.

W: On the face of it, nuclear energy seems like ...

B: Is one of the options we have to pursue, yes.

W: What was the greatest success of your administration?

B: I will mention two or three [points] that were important to me. First of all, in 1961,
the great baby boom was moving through the high schools of the state and
obviously were going to descend on the colleges. We were totally unprepared.
We did not have the junior colleges that we have now, and we had only three
major state universities. I felt that we had to get prepared for that, so I espoused
a constitutional amendment and helped to push it through the legislature. I think
I am somewhat responsible for its passing. That amendment has produced, from
those years down to now, just a little more than a billion dollars in funds that have
gone to build the twenty-eight junior colleges and the additional universities that
we have. I think if that had not been done, there is no way that we could have
met the educational needs that we faced. We have done all the brick-and-mortar









FP 64
Page 15

advances that we should do. Future emphasis should not be placed on
[constructing] more buildings, [but] you have to maintain the ones you have. Of
course, there is always some development that must be faced. But the quantity
of buildings is adequate now, for a long time and [what] we have to emphasize is
the quality of the education. Secondly, at that time, U.S. 1 was not four-laned.
The interstates were not built--I-95 and 1-75 were not built. There was no
[Florida] Turnpike, and I [could] see that that was one of the critical issues that
we had to face. So over the opposition of Governor Collins in particular, we built
the turnpike from Fort Pierce north to Wildwood. We built 1-75. We built 1-95,
almost finished one southern portion which had the turnpike--we did not build that
part of it. We four-laned U.S. 301 across the state. We four-laned State Road
60 to meet the turnpike from Tampa. We built Alligator Alley across the southern
part of the state, and all to great hue and cry. But I have a term out there [to
use], speaking of your earlier question. [Regarding] my difference philosophically
and pragmatically, they say you consider yourself a free man--are you free to go
to Orlando? Only if you have a road or some other way to get there. And I can
see that providing people the options was not only an economic development,
but it was also a philosophic development. It increases man's freedom when you
give him more options of [what] he can do. This country does not realize--I am
speaking broadly now, not just of Florida--what it has in this tremendous
transportation infrastructure, as compared with any other nation in the world. It is
just fantastic. Just incredible.

W: Expansion of the colleges and the roads were two of them. And the third?

B: And the third [point] was conservation. We began a program at that time, the
same election at which we adopted the amendment relative to the funding of the
universities. We developed an amendment which provided for a trust fund for the
acquisition of lands to be held by the public. The funds were coming from
miscellaneous tax sources, largely sports related.
W: They were earmarked for that purpose?

B: Correct. And [we had several] thoughts in mind. We could see that Florida was
going to continue to grow. If we were going to acquire recreational areas, in
particular, to be maintained for the public--beaches, riverfronts, and so forth, we
had better do it before the need arose--or before it became critical. The second
[point] that we had in mind was that we should acquire lands that could be used
for power establishments--power plants. Even at that time you could begin to
see that that was going to be a real issue. Now the nuclear power plant issue
was not great then, but just the construction of power plants.









FP 64
Page 16

W: You were not talking about putting the state in the power business, but selling the
land to the power companies.

B: Acquiring lands with plenty of guard space. You would sell them or license to
them, but to be sure that their plants would be in places that would be least
objectionable, least harmful. Well, unfortunately, that idea never really caught
on. We passed a constitutional amendment, but it was ignored or canceled after
a couple of years. The legislature undid that work and so that conservation fund
was dissipated and those lands were not in any significant way acquired. They
should have been, and I am sorry that people later on did not agree with me on
that. I think today we all wish that had been done.

W: We have certain parts of that program working.

B: In a different form.

W: Yes.

B: That is true. That one was disbanded and then they cranked it up again in
another form, but I wanted to build up a constitutional fund that would be
continuously used for future generations.

W: So you see your success was getting the idea across.

B: That is correct.

W: The three areas [in which] you were successful--again in your philosophy--are
pretty tangible [areas] that you can see.

B: That is correct.

W: Which governor did you feel closest to?

B: Let me [discuss something else], which I have been thinking [about]. We came
through a day of great racial strife without any bad marks. You would not
remember, of course, but the Freedom Riders [and] Martin Luther King, Jr., at St.
Augustine [in 1964], in particular, were just two examples. In St. Augustine, there
were no heads bashed, nobody was harmed, and we used the forces of the state
to ensure that everybody had a right--or had the power to do what he had the
right to do. I was under threat of federal judicial punishment. A federal judge set
me down to show cause why I should not be held in contempt for violating his
orders. What we did was maintain the peace and tranquillity of the state. We









FP 64
Page 17

saw that everybody had the power to do whatever he had the right to do. Now,
[the federal judge] wanted me to disband the curfew and [other restrictions],
which I refused to do. But in spite of the turmoil of that time, the atmosphere of
racial antagonism never really grabbed hold in the state.

W: So you would say during your term, more than the other governor's term
[Collins's term], [racial tensions] were put out that came into this area?

B: No question about it. That was when Bobby Kennedy and Jack Kennedy were
up, and Martin Luther King, Jr., and Andrew Young and Hosea Williams were all
coming into Florida and raising cane. In spite of what they did, we kept a clamp
on it in such a way that we never gave them the spark for the conflagration that
they were trying to set.

W: In the 1960 campaign, you made a statement that you would never allow any
black children in our white schools or [words] to that effect.

B: I do not think that I made that statement. Because they already were.

W: Of course, not in all-white schools. I guess [there were some] schools that
already were integrated, and there were all-white schools that had not been
integrated yet.

B: There still are.

W: Yes.

B: I do not remember making that categorical statement. It is a long time now, but I
do not remember making that categorical statement. Do you find that I did?

W: Well, in the course of reading, I had seen a quote attributed to you. Of course, I
did not hear it myself.

B: I do not think so. Could be, but I do not think so.

W: Have your views on this subject changed like everyone else's has changed?
How would you say they have changed?

B: I made a speech back in 1954 that stated purely and simply that the problem will
be solved, not by government, but by people. When I can walk down the street
or a black man can walk down the street and [neither one] not feel enmity for the
[approaching] fellow] that is when we will solve our racial problems. We will not









FP 64
Page 18

solve them by enforced busing or enforced integration. We will solve them only
when the black people are more successful, when the black people become
establishment-oriented. Did you see Arthur Ashe [professional tennis player and
winner of several world titles] on television yesterday [March 1979]?

W: No, I did not.

B: I watched him on the [TV program] "60 Minutes."

W: He was talking about this.

B: That is correct. He was [saying] that in order for us to solve that problem--if it
ever can be solved and I am not sure that it can--it is going to have to be done by
blacks and whites moving together in their goals, in their methods of living, and in
their methods of speaking.

W: I suppose, in the public schools of Marion County, of course, you would not have
had any black professors. But at the Harvard Law School there probably were.

B: Sure, we had some there.

W: All right. I want to go back to the question I asked about the governor you felt
closest to. You could ask that in two ways: personally and then philosophically,
or maybe they are the same.

B: Personally, Caldwell [Millard Caldwell, governor of Florida, 1945-1949] was
[twelve] years before me. In the life of Florida, [twelve years] is a long time.
Caldwell was more conservative than I am. I liked him. He was a good friend of
mine. I liked Doyle Carlton [Doyle E. Carlton, governor of Florida, 1929-1933]
who was the governor in the [early] 1930s. I thought he was a tremendous
fellow. I cannot give you a philosophical parallel. I liked Dan McCarty a lot. I
liked Spessard Holland [Spessard L. Holland, governor of Florida, 1941-1945] an
awful lot. But he was governor during World War II when there really were not
any basic problems. Fuller [Fuller Warren, governor of Florida, 1949-1953] and I
were different. Charley Johns [acting governor of Florida, 1953-1954] and I were
different. LeRoy Collins [governor of Florida, 1954-1955, 1955-1961] and I were
initially very much alike, but I thought he changed, which probably means I
changed.

W: You did not agree with him on reapportionment.









FP 64
Page 19

B: Well, it is a funny [situation]. That is where we broke. He called a session in
1955 for the purpose of solving the reapportionment problem and said we are
going to stay here until we do it, but he did not. He let us go home, and I got
mad at him for doing that.

W: Got mad at him, not for letting you go home, but for calling you in the first place?

B: No, for not staying there until the problem was solved. The problem was not
going away. All you were doing was just postponing it, and the divisiveness of
the issue was very great. I thought we ought to stay there until it was done. He
said that was what we were going to do and I supported him 100 percent.

W: For staying there until it was decided, not necessarily the way he wanted it
decided.

B: That is correct, but it should have been decided.

W: Yes.

B: In some way. And I supported him up until he sent down a message saying, you
can go home, and that is when I blasted him. That is when we separated.

W: Over that issue.

B: Yes. He got mad at me, of course, then he supported [in the 1960 Democratic
governor primary] Doyle Carlton, Jr. [son of former governor, Doyle Carlton, Sr.]
and that did not bring us any closer together.

W: It is interesting [when] he said that that was one of the [endorsements] that he
considered a mistake.

B: Did he?

W: Yes. It is interesting that none of the governors you mentioned is from a very
recent time. Governors you mentioned you felt closer to were previous to you.

B: Governor Burns [Haydon Burns, governor of Florida, 1965-1967] and I were not
close.

W: Did you know him?

B: I knew him well.









FP 64
Page 20


W: Do you have personal or philosophical differences?

B: I guess it would be both of them. Governor Kirk [Claude Kirk, Jr., governor of
Florida, 1967-1971] and I, of course, were not close, either personally or
philosophically. I liked him all right, but we have nothing in common. Governor
Askew [Reubin Askew, governor of Florida, 1971-1979] and I were always good
friends, but it was a different day. The issues were much different, naturally, and
he was elected in 1970. I was elected in 1960. That is a long time in the life of
Florida. He and I were always good friends and are today.

W: You do not know Bob Graham well?

B: No. I have known Bob a long time [who was recently elected governor in
November 1978], and I think him a highly intelligent, well-motivated person. I
expect him to make a very good governor. But, I am not close to him.

W: I noticed a curious [aspect] in his campaign was some broadcast of Dempsey
Barron [Dempsey J. Barron, president of the Florida State Senate, 1975-1976]
that W.D. Childers [Wyon D. Childers, president of the Florida State Senate,
1981-1982] made. Are you familiar with the broadcast I am talking about?

B: Yes, I am.

W: That and the fact that you had gone to Harvard Law School sort of turned against
[you].

B: Yes.

W: Did that [issue] come up in your campaign?

B: Yes, it did. We were on a debate in the Tampa area, Doyle [Carlton, Jr.] and I--I
guess for the second primary--and he, in the give-and-take of debate, made
reference to this Harvard lawyer.

W: Whether it was a connotation as a slick person or a ...

B: I forget what the connotation was, but he was not complimenting me, let me say
that. He did not mean to be paying me any compliments by [that remark]. I do
not know what he was trying to say, but I will guarantee you he was not trying to
praise me. I responded to him at that time with another [issue]. I pointed out that
he had never graduated from college and I did it by saying that I am sorry he









FP 64
Page 21

does not like my college education--I am not critical of his. He decided to drop
out of college when he was a sophomore, and that is all right. I have no quarrel
with that.

W: You were saying that you had no criticism of his lack of college?

B: That is right. Of course, what I was doing was just goosing him the way he had
goosed me.

W: You would not have gone into that if it had not been brought up?

B: No. That is right. It is the only reference that I remembered. Of course, when I
first ran as a legislator, it was a big handicap in my hometown. People wanted to
know why I thought I was so uppity that I had to go [to Harvard].

W: You have some odd ideas up there.

B: That is right. That Yankee school.

W: Do you still keep close ties with Marion County?

B: I go down there twice a month for business obligations.

W: So you are pretty close to it?

B: Yes, I am.

W: Had you considered going back there after governor?

B: Oh, yes. I did consider it. I came here because we were trying to raise money to
build this insurance company, and there is more money in Jacksonville than
there is in Ocala. That is why I came to Jacksonville, basically.

W: The governorship was the [goal] you had aimed for?

B: All my life, that was all.

W: We were talking about education and your views on that. Are you involved in the
University of Florida at all, involved in its alumni association or involved in its ...

B: I make a small contribution, but I am not active in alumni affairs.









FP 64
Page 22

W: And your philosophy is now we have the buildings done, let's raise the quality of
the University of Florida. That is the flagship university and that is the one that
ought to be made great.

B: No, I do not think of it in that way. I think you have to be very pragmatic about
that, and I am not so sure that the prestige of a university is of great significance
to me [more] than it seems to some [other] people. I think every development in
a university has to be gauged on what it returns to the people of Florida. I do not
think an institution stands by itself. We want to have a great state, and we want
the University of Florida to contribute to it, [as well as] Florida State University
and Florida A&M, and all the others. You have to make pragmatic decisions on
the development of each university, but I would not start out that we are going to
build a great university that is one of the three best in the nation. I would not do
that.

W: I saw some interesting statistics that the university I went to may have a better
reputation than Florida. But I saw a list of universities, and the University of
Florida was up there in the top ten somewhere. A good gauge. It is not touted
as a great institution.

B: That is right.

W: But the results ...

B: Well, there is the pragmatic approach. Maybe this a trick that [plays on one's
mind]. I have a hard time remembering [certain facts]. The only veto I had
overridden that I remember was a veto of a horse track and a dog track. In fact,
it was two horse tracks--Pompano and Orlando. I thought Florida did not need
more gambling, and I vetoed both of those bills. Both of those vetoes were
overridden.

W: Were you active in the campaign against the casinos?

B: Yes, I was pretty hostile at the time. I do not believe I lost any other vetoes, and I
do not believe I ever lost a cabinet vote. Most of the [goals] I tried to [achieve],
we did. Now maybe I just selected the [tasks] that are easy to [accomplish].

B: But I do not remember losing many times.

W: Was it fun being governor?

B: Yes, sir.









FP 64
Page 23


W: Did you enjoy it more than [being in] the House of Representatives?

B: No, being a House member is more fun.

W: You do not have the weight of the world on your shoulders.

B: No, and there is the debate. You are fighting a guy on this bill and hugging him
on the next one, and the guy who defeats you on one measure supports you on
the next one. It is more like a game. Being governor is serious business. You
are by yourself to a large degree. But I loved being in the House. I loved
committee work. I loved the debates. I just liked it.

W: Which governor--and this is a question that you may decide to decline if you want
to--do you feel least in agreement with, say since World War II, [regarding] your
philosophies and [what has] gone on in Florida?

B: I would have to say Claude Kirk--his implementation of his philosophy. Actually,
while I was in Washington [appointed to the National Security Council and the
Office of Emergency Planning by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966]
representing President Johnson, [president, 1963-1968], Claude and I got along
well. I have good relations with him personally, but his style is so foreign to my
own.

W: Did you know him in Jacksonville?

B: No.

W: Do you believe that about Governor Collins when he got into politics again [the
former governor ran for the U.S. Senate and was defeated in the 1968 election]?

B: No. I supported him in his race and, of course, I knew that old governors do not
get re-elected in Florida. That is just the way the state works, but hope springs
eternal.

W: Do you consider yourself active in politics now?

B: On the periphery. I am not active in the sense that I am not putting up bumper
stickers, but I do try to make small contributions.

W: I mean publicly, come out and support [candidates].









FP 64
Page 24

B: Oh, yes. I do that.

W: Give me a synopsis of what Florida was like in the time when you were growing
up. Describe the feeling that you had for Marion County since you were born
there.

B: As a young man, my views were very provincial. I really was very conservative
by nature and did not look much beyond the immediate time and place. I can
remember [being involved] in the Junior Chamber of Commerce and other similar
activities. I was usually on the side of the stand-patters and the stay-putters.
That was interesting because today that is not my viewpoint. It resulted more
from inward looking. I was very studious. I spent my time in the library. I was
just not an outgoing person. Once I became exposed to the world, my attitude
changed. Florida at that time was a quiet state. The tourists were here, but their
numbers were not so great that they really inundated us. They were Yankees,
and they just came in and out without really affecting us very much in my life.
And it was a conservative environment. Mom, apple pie, and the flag were
features of the state and the society that I knew at that time. I believed in the
virtues of hard work, and I was really out of the nineteenth century in many
respects in my earlier years. Obviously this is a world which is becoming more
and more egalitarian. I dislike that. I think it is dangerous and destructive, and I
hope the pendulum swings back. The French people, in their revolution, opted
for life, liberty, and equality. We opted for freedom, which is quite different. And
I see an erosion of that commitment to freedom today, which is dangerous.

W: I want to ask now, before we close, what sort of readings do you do today? Do
you have time for extra-curricular reading outside of work?


B: Well, of course, I read the current magazines. Right now I am reading A
Bodyguard of Lies, which is about World War II British intelligence operations. I
have read H.R. Haldeman's The Ends of Power and David Halberstam's The
Best and the Brightest. That is the kind of reading I do when I have time.

W: Do you have a sort of political interest?

B: Yes, I do. I just do not read novels. I just do not have the time for that.




Full Text

PAGE 1

1:KA MN [Ci:MEI m 0 1

PAGE 2

FP 64 Interviewee: Farris Bryant Interviewer: Ray Washington Date: March 1979 W: This is an interview with Farris Bryant, former governor of Florida, which took place in March 1979 at his office building, the Voyager Insurance Company in Jacksonville, Florida. The discussions took place over a period of two days, only some of which would be included on this tape. Side one was on one day. Side two would be on another. The portions of the conversations selected for tape were those which dealt more specifically with his philosophies and his actions as governor [1961-1965]. The only voices are those of myself and Governor Bryant. Your first entrance into politics was in the House of Representatives in 1942? B: Yes, that is correct. W: This was the first office you held? B: Yes, [but] I never served. I resigned before the first session to go into the service. W: Was there one representative from Marion County at that time? One senator? B: There were two representatives and one senator. W: When you returned from the service, did you run again for the same [office]? B: Yes, in 1946 I ran and continued to serve through 1956. W: Did another fellow run for the office and have it while you were gone or ... B: Yes, one of the chaps I had defeated had been a veteran of World War I. W: He was an older fellow. B: Right. He served during that time. W: Did you find yourself having to run against him again when you got back or did he drop out of it? B: No, he dropped out of it, and so I did not have to run against him. W: In the 1956 gubernatorial election--I was curious to know--in those days a lot of the governors had the political spectrum idea of left and right. Do you have any 1

PAGE 3

FP 64 Page 2 idea in your own mind of how your own philosophy would rank with Earl Warren [Earl Warren, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1954-1969] and LeRoy Collins [LeRoy Collins, governor of Florida, 1955-1961], [and] of how you would fit on that spectrum? B: There was a third man in there, fourth man, Sumter Lowry [gubernatorial candidate in 1956]. I would say that at that time, so far as philosophy is concerned--I do not mean the practical implications of philosophy--but if [each of us] had been writing a book, there would not have been too much difference. W: Now Sumter Lowry would be included? B: Sumter would have been different. W: I see, but as far as you four, LeRoy Collins, etc. B: That is correct. W: All right. I was in one of the interviews with Millard Caldwell [Millard F. Caldwell, governor of Florida, 1945-1949] in Tallahassee, [and] I asked him, what governor do you feel most comfortable with as far as philosophy. He said, Farris Bryant. B: Yes. W: He said you would not agree with this, but your announced philosophy is a lot more liberal, [and] that your practical philosophy is about right. B: Well, he is [making] an interesting [point], and I understand what he is saying. Actually, I suppose my practical politics are probably a bit more liberal than my public statements would evidence--not because of any deception. Simply because as I approached the solution of problems, I think I became more pragmatic, and sometimes that pragmatism required some changes in philosophy. For instance, I will give you a broad illustration. When you are running for office, you want 51 percent of the votes or 52 or 55 [percent]. When you are governor, you represent 100 percent of the votes. There is a difference. In running for office, you have to please the majority. But when you have the responsibility as governor, your responsibility is to everybody, and you simply have to recognize the viewpoints and the rights of even those who disagree with you on basic philosophic grounds. W: And this comes as you are in office of governor and you go into ... 2

PAGE 4

FP 64 Page 3 B: A problem arises and you might say, I am a stern conservative, to heck with them. You cannot do that. If you are going to be a governor of Florida or hold any political office, you have to consider the views and the interests of everybody. W: There is an interesting way of approaching problems that LeRoy Collins presented. I think people said the difference he had [with] Dan McCarty [Daniel T. McCarty, governor of Florida, 1953], when they asked him, how [do] you stand on this [certain issue], he said his philosophy was a pragmatic view. If you can get something done, devote your energy to that instead of using a shotgun and blasting out. What Collins said, McCarty was opposed to, and he thought you did not have to necessarily believe you could get something accomplished in order to do it. B: Well, I think it is a valid comment by Governor Collins and I should be more on the McCarty side. I tried to measure myself by what I accomplished. W: By what you could get a visible feel for. B: That is correct. I certainly recognize the validity of what Collins is saying in that in the long scheme of [events], perhaps your philosophical approach is unimportant whether you accomplish anything or not. But if there are people who are hungry or mistreated today or who are trying to exercise their opportunities as Americans today, my making a great speech about it--which has no effect-seems to me to be not the most useful [action to take]. The most useful [plan] is to meet their problems. W: I understand. B: Right. I found that the most important part of being governor was making decisions, because until the governor makes a decision, nothing happens, that is, in areas for which he is responsible. People around with resources--with machines, with pencils--are ready to carry out a program, but somebody has to decide. I think sometimes it is more important to make a decision and move on than it is to sit back and philosophize about it or generalize about it. To bring you down to its simplest illustration: You are going to build a road between town A and town B. There are a thousand different routes you can follow, each of them has advantages and disadvantages, and you can agonize over which is the right one. The important [point] is to make a decision and build the road. It will not be perfect and there will be some injustices done and some benefits derived, but keep your eye on the ball and build the road the best you can. You have to just go ahead and do it. 3

PAGE 5

FP 64 Page 4 W: It will not extend to predict the future anyway, I guess. B: That is correct. When you have done all the studies you can do, you are probably still going to be wrong in your decisions. W: I wanted to ask you about Marion County [during] the time that you were growing up. Were your folks from there? B: Yes, sir. W: How long had they been there? B: Since 1890. W: What part of the country did they come from? B: Missouri. My father came as a boy of five. My mother was born in Marion County [as were] her parents. It was my father's family who came in 1890. [As to] my mother's family, it was before that [time]. They are from Charleston, South Carolina. W: What was the political atmosphere in Marion County at the time you were growing up there? Over in Bradford County, when I was talking to Charley Johns [Charley E. Johns, acting governor of Florida, 1953-1954], I was struck by the political county back in that time. Everybody was in politics heading toward Tallahassee. Was that kind of atmosphere in Marion County? Were there a lot of people interested in politics? What got you interested in politics? B: See this watch? That watch was given to my uncle in 1913, my mother's brother [ion L. Farris]. And she adored him. W: He had been in [politics] around the turn of the century? B: Yes, he was the speaker of the House in 1913. W: You were named for [him]? B: That is correct. And my mother, the day I was born, had my father hold me up and she said, hello, governor. So I can tell you that I have no memory of a time when I was not going to be governor of Florida. It is just that she started me off. I was taking declamation lessons and studying civics and government through all 4

PAGE 6

FP 64 Page 5 those years. As a child, I just assumed that I was going to be governor or [some other high-ranking politician]. I had to get ready. W: There was sort of [an incentive] in the back of your mind. B: That is correct. That is why I am not really a natural politician, as many people would term it. I am sure if you picked someone with ideal qualities for a successful politician, you would not pick me. But my mother was a very determined person, obviously a great influence in my life. W: Had your uncle wanted to be governor also? B: He ran for governor. He served twice as speaker of the House. He was the first speaker to do that. W: During World War I? B: From 1913 to 1917 and then he ran for governor in 1918 and was unsuccessful [he actually ran unsuccessfully in the gubernatorial Democratic primary of 1916]. Just this morning, in my den at home, I found a scrapbook of his campaigns. I said to myself, I have to get that down to the University of Florida library. It is really a ledger book, an old bookkeeping ledger book [which contains] newspaper clippings of his campaigns. W: All over the state? B: Yes. And I have given my papers to the University of Florida, but I have not delivered all [the papers] to them. I want to deliver that one to UF because it is really a historic piece. W: Did your uncle live long enough to be an encouragement to you? B: Not really. He lived in Jacksonville. My home is in Ocala, and I saw him infrequently. W: What sort of business was your father in? B: My father was a farm boy [but] he became a certified public accountant. He was a member of the first board of CPAs in Florida and that was always his business. W: The way you talk, you inferred that the politics came more from your mother. 5

PAGE 7

FP 64 Page 6 B: Entirely. W: I see. B: My father had no political interests at all and my mother died. W: When you were first elected to the [Florida] House of Representatives, were your parents still alive at that time? B: Both of them were alive then. My mother died during World War II, and so she never saw me serve in the legislature. My father died in 1949, so he never even knew that I was speaker of the House, as far as that is concerned. W: What sort of forces were going on in your education? I noticed you went to Emory first before you went to the University of Florida. I was curious about what would take you up to Atlanta instead of the University of Florida. B: I do not know why Emory was selected. W: Were you there for a couple of years? B: One year. I was only fifteen when I graduated from high school. I was there one year, and I did not want to go back the second year. I was involved with a girl. W: From your hometown? B: That is right. Emory was too far away, so my father put me on the train [and] on the way to Emory, I got off in Gainesville. [He] did not know it for several weeks! W: And you finished there in three more years. B: That is right. W: [Did] the law school at Florida require a four-year degree before entering? B: No, it did not. It was just beginning to phase into that. At that time, you could take three years of undergraduate [courses] and two years in law and have both degrees. No, [you] just [needed to] have the one degree, I believe. But you were a lawyer at the end of that five-year span. W: You had never been interested in taking that route? 6

PAGE 8

FP 64 Page 7 B: No, I had not. W: Who initially had the Harvard idea? B: My mother. W: She figured that would help you in politics? B: No. She just thought that it was the best law school in the country, and she wanted her son to have the best there was. That was just basically it. W: How old were you when you entered Harvard? B: Twenty. W: You graduated when you were twenty-three? B: Twenty-three. W: How old were you when you were elected to the legislature? B: In 1942, 1 was twenty-eight. W: You had practiced law for five years before that? B: No. I graduated from law school in 1938. I tried to get a job as a lawyer in Florida. The most money I could get was $50 per month. I got two offers of $50 per month. W: What towns were they in? B: Tallahassee and Orlando. I could not live on $50, and I did not want to be dependent on my family anymore, so I went up to Tallahassee and got a job as an adding machine operator. They called me an auditor for the state of Florida. [I was a] controller at $120 a month, and I stayed there a year-and-a-half and then got married and moved back to Ocala and opened my own law office. W: In private practice? B: Correct. I was there when World War II began and I quit. W: So you had more or less gone to Tallahassee to get your financial footing? 7

PAGE 9

FP 64 Page 8 B: Right. I was in Ocala for little more than a year, and so I had not really practiced law when the war began. W: When you ran for office, was that after war had been declared? B: No, before. W: Actually, the election was in May, but in those days, you started running in November of the preceding year. That was just the pattern. And I had announced in November and then, of course, in December 1941 war was declared. Then I immediately wrote to the navy and said, I volunteer. But the navy did not act on my volunteering until a little later. In the meantime, until I heard from the navy, I kept running. That is how it happened. W: But you were in the navy before you were in the [Florida] House? B: That is right. I went into the navy probably in May or before that. W: Was there a special election to fill your seat? B: Yes. W: Had you made any long-range plan [at age] twenty-eight, when you should run for the legislature, and it just happened that you were in Ocala at that time? You knew eventually it was going to happen, but it was just a matter of being in the right position. B: Right. First of all, I had to be able to make a living. The pay in the legislature was $6 a day, for sixty days, every two years, or $360 for two years' service. There is no way you can get along on your legislative pay. You had to be making a living in order to be in the legislature. W: Speaking of that, I will just ask you on the record or off the record, what your opinion is of the proposed pay raise to the legislature. B: Well, it is a difficult [question] to answer because first of all, when you get a professional legislator, I think the decision is, shall you make him a professional legislator? That decision has been made. I would have been opposed to it. I think it should still be on a voluntary basis, more or less, a non-paying basis, but it is not. That decision has been made, and I really do not have an opinion on the difference between $12,000 and whatever else we are talking about. 8

PAGE 10

FP 64 Page 9 W: Do you think a state that is growing and as complex as Florida still should have a non-professional ... B: It would be a lot better off, in my judgment. W: What about a session every two years instead of every one year? B: I like that, too. I think it is all part of [having] too much government. But that is my opinion. W: [Could you] make a breaking point [about the] time when Florida politics changed from the simple way? When you were governor, you told me that the staff knew people at the head of every agency. You actually knew those people. You knew what was going on. B: Sure. W: Was that still the case when you were governor? B: Yes, it was. W: Is there a point you can name, in general, when that change was made? B: No. I think it has a lot to do with style. It is not that there are so many more agencies now. A governor can still know the controlling people in his government, but you have so many aides. You delegate so much today. W: You think that is more style than necessity? B: Yes, I do. W: So it was not necessarily the change in time, but the change in people who came into office. B: It was a change in times, too. Times change, styles [change], and another factor is the huge amount of money available now. For instance, when I was governor, you had one highway patrol aide and that was it. Now [governors] have seven or eight. There are no more hours in the day now than there were then. The governor does not travel anymore now than he did then. But in those days, if you would have seven or eight highway patrol aides, they would have been climbing the walls to get at you. For instance, the state had never furnished a governor an airplane when I became governor. I bought a second-hand Aerocommander for $50,000, and then I had a mapping camera put in there on a detachable sort of 9

PAGE 11

FP 64 Page 10 basis so that when I was not using it, they used it for mapping roads. Still, there was a great hue and cry about spending all that money on an airplane. Today, you spend a couple of million [dollars] on a jet, [and] nobody thinks anything about it. But that is style, not just the governor's style, but just the style of government at this time. W: More money. B: Yes. W: Right. You are in Jacksonville, so it probably came home to you pretty close, this mayor's race. I never thought I would see a mayor's race cost a half a million dollars. Did it cost more than your campaign for governor? B: No, it did not. W: OK. Certainly in this last gubernatorial race [Bob Graham versus Jack Eckerd in election of 1978], there was more money involved than in the race you had [in 1960]. $10 million. B: I suppose, there were ten Democratic candidates when I ran. W: You are talking about the second time [in 1960]. B: That is right. And I suppose the total expenditures were about $6 or $7 million. It was a lot of money. W: So [it was] an expensive operation to run for governor. When you ran, it was expensive. B: It really was, and it was real dollars. W: If you were of age and of inclination to run for governor today [1979], what would you do differently than you did in 1960? B: In 1960, and this is an overstatement, I knew everybody in Florida. I had been traveling in the state continuously for ten years. I had made a speech at every Rotary Club and every church. You name it, I had been there. Every strawberry festival [and other major events], I had been there. In every town I knew the leadership of that community, and when I say "every," I mean just that: every. I knew who the people were. Today, that is impossible. Today, a governor has been so well displayed that everybody pretty much knows him. A fellow, who is 10

PAGE 12

FP 64 Page 11 running for governor and trying to get exposure, can walk through condominiums and supermarkets and nobody knows him. Literally. That was not so. But I knew people. So in those days, I cultivated my memory at that time and I could [recall] the names of thousands of people. I made it a point to do so. That was one of the arts. But today [when] a governor comes here, you do not expect him to know [everybody]. He will know a few people, but you do not expect him to know any great number of people. I knew them and I knew their wives in most instances. It was just different. W: [Are members of] the media more involved in the campaign today? B: Much more. If you do not reach them through the media, you cannot reach them. That is true, so true. W: Coming from small Ocala--l have trouble saying that Marion County is small. B: It is. It was and it is. W: Coming from that sort of background, do you have any feelings about the way the state is going through growth? I know that you have a business background. I am sure that is good. B: I will tell you how I have expressed it. During the time that I was governor, I worked hard to try to make Florida grow, and it was always sad to see. Obviously, it is a more pleasant place without the constant turmoil and change. I would rather walk down the street and know everybody. Now I walk down the street and I see strangers. Then I walked down the street and I saw friends. That is the difference, and, of course, those earlier, less chaotic days were more pleasant, but that is just dreaming. Florida will never stop growing. We will enter a statistic that has always fascinated me. From 1830 down to 1950, Florida doubled in population every twenty years. From 1950 to 1960, it doubled again. Now it continues to grow, and Florida will always grow that way. I am speaking in terms of life spans, not eternities. But Florida has qualities that the people of this country want, and they are going to continue to come here. It is not a question of whether it is going to grow. It is going to be a question of how we will manage that growth to make it better. W: So is it unrealistic to shout about? Was 1956 the only political election you ever lost? 11

PAGE 13

FP 64 Page 12 B: No. First of all, I ran for speaker of the House. I was elected; I first served in the House in the session of 1947 and in 1949. I ran for speaker of the House and was defeated. In 1953, I ran again and was selected. W: Within the House? B: That is right. Then I ran for the [United States] Senate in 1970 and lost that election. I won the first primary, but lost in the general election [to Lawton Chiles 474,420 to 247,211]. W: Which was most upsetting to you? When you lost in 1970 or lost in 1956? I do not mean "upsetting"--I mean that caused you the most regret for entering the race? B: I never regretted entering. I have never entered a race where there was not a great benefit and tremendous experience. So I regret having done [deeds] that perhaps caused me to lose, or not having done [deeds] that would have caused me to win. But I do not ever regret having run for office. It is a great, broadening, enriching experience. But [to] try to give some sort of a positive answer to your question, they were quite different. My problem in the race of 1970 was that I was not prepared. In 1956, I was prepared. There had been a confluence of circumstances. My plans had been to run in 1956. Dan McCarty died in 1953. W: You did not count on having to run against someone who had been in office? B: No. The constitution says you may not be re-elected. So I read the constitution and got some advice [from] attorneys. They said, if you run now, you will just have a three-year term and you cannot run again. Well, I did not want to do that. So I said, OK, I am not going to run in 1954, I will run in 1956. That [did not turn] out to be a wise decision because the Florida Supreme Court, a few days before the election, said that Collins, who had been elected in 1954 [to fulfill Dan McCarty's term], could run for re-election. W: Of course, if you had gone ahead and run in 1954, you never could tell how the Florida Supreme Court would have acted again. B: No way. W: Collins won in the first primary. 12

PAGE 14

FP 64 Page 13 B: Yes. He won, Sumter [L. Lowry] was second, I was third and Fuller [Warren] was fourth. W: Do you see your defeat as a steppingstone? B: Yes. I started running for governor again the next day. I never quit on the idea. Now, in 1970, I had developed some obligations to this operation here. W: When did you move to Jacksonville? B: 1965. W: Immediately after? B: And I had planned not to run because I did not have the time, but then they passed a law changing the election date from May to September, and I thought maybe that will give me time. But it did not. I did not lay the groundwork properly, did not do my homework properly. W: After that election, did you make a conscious decision to avoid seeking other political office? B: No, I did not. W: You left yourself flexible to circumstances. B: I tried. You can never tell what is going to happen. So I always leave the door open, even though I have absolutely no plans to do anything. I see no point in barring yourself from one course or another. W: The way you were speaking, the gubernatorial election was something you had envisioned from childhood? B: Right. W: And you had accomplished that, something [that] came to you naturally. B: Right. W: You think being out of the public light for that long was a factor? 13

PAGE 15

FP 64 Page 14 B: The [point] that was a factor was that the political environment in Florida had changed and I had not. The Vietnam War, environmental issues, the egalitarian philosophy that had developed all made a large impact on the population of Florida, that political entity, but I am not an egalitarian. I was not disaffected by the Vietnam War, and I really think in that period of time [that] the environmentalists were extreme in their views. But, nevertheless, they were the majority in that time. I continued to espouse the Cross-Florida Barge Canal. But obviously it had no great appeal across a broad spectrum, and there were many people who were very much opposed to it. But I thought it was good and I was for it. W: Have you changed now? B: No, I am still for it. It is a great mistake not to build that canal, a great mistake for which we will pay, but I am sure that my views do not represent the majority feeling. W: Would your views carry over on nuclear energy now? B: I think we have to develop. Now, I have never made a study of these problems. W: Right. B: I understand the canal, I studied the problems. W: On the face of it, nuclear energy seems like ... B: Is one of the options we have to pursue, yes. W: What was the greatest success of your administration? B: I will mention two or three [points] that were important to me. First of all, in 1961, the great baby boom was moving through the high schools of the state and obviously were going to descend on the colleges. We were totally unprepared. We did not have the junior colleges that we have now, and we had only three major state universities. I felt that we had to get prepared for that, so I espoused a constitutional amendment and helped to push it through the legislature. I think I am somewhat responsible for its passing. That amendment has produced, from those years down to now, just a little more than a billion dollars in funds that have gone to build the twenty-eight junior colleges and the additional universities that we have. I think if that had not been done, there is no way that we could have met the educational needs that we faced. We have done all the brick-and-mortar 14

PAGE 16

FP 64 Page 15 advances that we should do. Future emphasis should not be placed on [constructing] more buildings, [but] you have to maintain the ones you have. Of course, there is always some development that must be faced. But the quantity of buildings is adequate now, for a long time and [what] we have to emphasize is the quality of the education. Secondly, at that time, U.S. 1 was not four-laned. The interstates were not built--I-95 and 1-75 were not built. There was no [Florida] Turnpike, and I [could] see that that was one of the critical issues that we had to face. So over the opposition of Governor Collins in particular, we built the turnpike from Fort Pierce north to Wildwood. We built 1-75. We built 1-95, almost finished one southern portion which had the turnpike--we did not build that part of it. We four-laned U.S. 301 across the state. We four-laned State Road 60 to meet the turnpike from Tampa. We built Alligator Alley across the southern part of the state, and all to great hue and cry. But I have a term out there [to use], speaking of your earlier question. [Regarding] my difference philosophically and pragmatically, they say you consider yourself a free man--are you free to go to Orlando? Only if you have a road or some other way to get there. And I can see that providing people the options was not only an economic development, but it was also a philosophic development. It increases man's freedom when you give him more options of [what] he can do. This country does not realize--I am speaking broadly now, not just of Florida--what it has in this tremendous transportation infrastructure, as compared with any other nation in the world. It is just fantastic. Just incredible. W: Expansion of the colleges and the roads were two of them. And the third? B: And the third [point] was conservation. We began a program at that time, the same election at which we adopted the amendment relative to the funding of the universities. We developed an amendment which provided for a trust fund for the acquisition of lands to be held by the public. The funds were coming from miscellaneous tax sources, largely sports related. W: They were earmarked for that purpose? B: Correct. And [we had several] thoughts in mind. We could see that Florida was going to continue to grow. If we were going to acquire recreational areas, in particular, to be maintained for the public--beaches, riverfronts, and so forth, we had better do it before the need arose--or before it became critical. The second [point] that we had in mind was that we should acquire lands that could be used for power establishments--power plants. Even at that time you could begin to see that that was going to be a real issue. Now the nuclear power plant issue was not great then, but just the construction of power plants. 15

PAGE 17

FP 64 Page 16 W: You were not talking about putting the state in the power business, but selling the land to the power companies. B: Acquiring lands with plenty of guard space. You would sell them or license to them, but to be sure that their plants would be in places that would be least objectionable, least harmful. Well, unfortunately, that idea never really caught on. We passed a constitutional amendment, but it was ignored or canceled after a couple of years. The legislature undid that work and so that conservation fund was dissipated and those lands were not in any significant way acquired. They should have been, and I am sorry that people later on did not agree with me on that. I think today we all wish that had been done. W: We have certain parts of that program working. B: In a different form. W: Yes. B: That is true. That one was disbanded and then they cranked it up again in another form, but I wanted to build up a constitutional fund that would be continuously used for future generations. W: So you see your success was getting the idea across. B: That is correct. W: The three areas [in which] you were successful--again in your philosophy--are pretty tangible [areas] that you can see. B: That is correct. W: Which governor did you feel closest to? B: Let me [discuss something else], which I have been thinking [about]. We came through a day of great racial strife without any bad marks. You would not remember, of course, but the Freedom Riders [and] Martin Luther King, Jr., at St. Augustine [in 1964], in particular, were just two examples. In St. Augustine, there were no heads bashed, nobody was harmed, and we used the forces of the state to ensure that everybody had a right--or had the power to do what he had the right to do. I was under threat of federal judicial punishment. A federal judge set me down to show cause why I should not be held in contempt for violating his orders. What we did was maintain the peace and tranquillity of the state. We 16

PAGE 18

FP 64 Page 17 saw that everybody had the power to do whatever he had the right to do. Now, [the federal judge] wanted me to disband the curfew and [other restrictions], which I refused to do. But in spite of the turmoil of that time, the atmosphere of racial antagonism never really grabbed hold in the state. W: So you would say during your term, more than the other governor's term [Collins's term], [racial tensions] were put out that came into this area? B: No question about it. That was when Bobby Kennedy and Jack Kennedy were up, and Martin Luther King, Jr., and Andrew Young and Hosea Williams were all coming into Florida and raising cane. In spite of what they did, we kept a clamp on it in such a way that we never gave them the spark for the conflagration that they were trying to set. W: In the 1960 campaign, you made a statement that you would never allow any black children in our white schools or [words] to that effect. B: I do not think that I made that statement. Because they already were. W: Of course, not in all-white schools. I guess [there were some] schools that already were integrated, and there were all-white schools that had not been integrated yet. B: There still are. W: Yes. B: I do not remember making that categorical statement. It is a long time now, but I do not remember making that categorical statement. Do you find that I did? W: Well, in the course of reading, I had seen a quote attributed to you. Of course, I did not hear it myself. B: I do not think so. Could be, but I do not think so. W: Have your views on this subject changed like everyone else's has changed? How would you say they have changed? B: I made a speech back in 1954 that stated purely and simply that the problem will be solved, not by government, but by people. When I can walk down the street or a black man can walk down the street and [neither one] not feel enmity for the [approaching] fellow] that is when we will solve our racial problems. We will not 17

PAGE 19

FP 64 Page 18 solve them by enforced busing or enforced integration. We will solve them only when the black people are more successful, when the black people become establishment-oriented. Did you see Arthur Ashe [professional tennis player and winner of several world titles] on television yesterday [March 1979]? W: No, I did not. B: I watched him on the [TV program] "60 Minutes." W: He was talking about this. B: That is correct. He was [saying] that in order for us to solve that problem--if it ever can be solved and I am not sure that it can--it is going to have to be done by blacks and whites moving together in their goals, in their methods of living, and in their methods of speaking. W: I suppose, in the public schools of Marion County, of course, you would not have had any black professors. But at the Harvard Law School there probably were. B: Sure, we had some there. W: All right. I want to go back to the question I asked about the governor you felt closest to. You could ask that in two ways: personally and then philosophically, or maybe they are the same. B: Personally, Caldwell [Millard Caldwell, governor of Florida, 1945-1949] was [twelve] years before me. In the life of Florida, [twelve years] is a long time. Caldwell was more conservative than I am. I liked him. He was a good friend of mine. I liked Doyle Carlton [Doyle E. Carlton, governor of Florida, 1929-1933] who was the governor in the [early] 1930s. I thought he was a tremendous fellow. I cannot give you a philosophical parallel. I liked Dan McCarty a lot. I liked Spessard Holland [Spessard L. Holland, governor of Florida, 1941-1945] an awful lot. But he was governor during World War II when there really were not any basic problems. Fuller [Fuller Warren, governor of Florida, 1949-1953] and I were different. Charley Johns [acting governor of Florida, 1953-1954] and I were different. LeRoy Collins [governor of Florida, 1954-1955, 1955-1961] and I were initially very much alike, but I thought he changed, which probably means I changed. W: You did not agree with him on reapportionment. 18

PAGE 20

FP 64 Page 19 B: Well, it is a funny [situation]. That is where we broke. He called a session in 1955 for the purpose of solving the reapportionment problem and said we are going to stay here until we do it, but he did not. He let us go home, and I got mad at him for doing that. W: Got mad at him, not for letting you go home, but for calling you in the first place? B: No, for not staying there until the problem was solved. The problem was not going away. All you were doing was just postponing it, and the divisiveness of the issue was very great. I thought we ought to stay there until it was done. He said that was what we were going to do and I supported him 100 percent. W: For staying there until it was decided, not necessarily the way he wanted it decided. B: That is correct, but it should have been decided. W: Yes. B: In some way. And I supported him up until he sent down a message saying, you can go home, and that is when I blasted him. That is when we separated. W: Over that issue. B: Yes. He got mad at me, of course, then he supported [in the 1960 Democratic governor primary] Doyle Carlton, Jr. [son of former governor, Doyle Carlton, Sr.] and that did not bring us any closer together. W: It is interesting [when] he said that that was one of the [endorsements] that he considered a mistake. B: Did he? W: Yes. It is interesting that none of the governors you mentioned is from a very recent time. Governors you mentioned you felt closer to were previous to you. B: Governor Burns [Haydon Burns, governor of Florida, 1965-1967] and I were not close. W: Did you know him? B: I knew him well. 19

PAGE 21

FP 64 Page 20 W: Do you have personal or philosophical differences? B: I guess it would be both of them. Governor Kirk [Claude Kirk, Jr., governor of Florida, 1967-1971] and I, of course, were not close, either personally or philosophically. I liked him all right, but we have nothing in common. Governor Askew [Reubin Askew, governor of Florida, 1971-1979] and I were always good friends, but it was a different day. The issues were much different, naturally, and he was elected in 1970. I was elected in 1960. That is a long time in the life of Florida. He and I were always good friends and are today. W: You do not know Bob Graham well? B: No. I have known Bob a long time [who was recently elected governor in November 1978], and I think him a highly intelligent, well-motivated person. I expect him to make a very good governor. But, I am not close to him. W: I noticed a curious [aspect] in his campaign was some broadcast of Dempsey Barron [Dempsey J. Barron, president of the Florida State Senate, 1975-1976] that W.D. Childers [Wyon D. Childers, president of the Florida State Senate, 1981-1982] made. Are you familiar with the broadcast I am talking about? B: Yes, I am. W: That and the fact that you had gone to Harvard Law School sort of turned against [you]. B: Yes. W: Did that [issue] come up in your campaign? B: Yes, it did. We were on a debate in the Tampa area, Doyle [Carlton, Jr.] and I--I guess for the second primary--and he, in the give-and-take of debate, made reference to this Harvard lawyer. W: Whether it was a connotation as a slick person or a ... B: I forget what the connotation was, but he was not complimenting me, let me say that. He did not mean to be paying me any compliments by [that remark]. I do not know what he was trying to say, but I will guarantee you he was not trying to praise me. I responded to him at that time with another [issue]. I pointed out that he had never graduated from college and I did it by saying that I am sorry he 20

PAGE 22

FP 64 Page 21 does not like my college education--I am not critical of his. He decided to drop out of college when he was a sophomore, and that is all right. I have no quarrel with that. W: You were saying that you had no criticism of his lack of college? B: That is right. Of course, what I was doing was just goosing him the way he had goosed me. W: You would not have gone into that if it had not been brought up? B: No. That is right. It is the only reference that I remembered. Of course, when I first ran as a legislator, it was a big handicap in my hometown. People wanted to know why I thought I was so uppity that I had to go [to Harvard]. W: You have some odd ideas up there. B: That is right. That Yankee school. W: Do you still keep close ties with Marion County? B: I go down there twice a month for business obligations. W: So you are pretty close to it? B: Yes, I am. W: Had you considered going back there after governor? B: Oh, yes. I did consider it. I came here because we were trying to raise money to build this insurance company, and there is more money in Jacksonville than there is in Ocala. That is why I came to Jacksonville, basically. W: The governorship was the [goal] you had aimed for? B: All my life, that was all. W: We were talking about education and your views on that. Are you involved in the University of Florida at all, involved in its alumni association or involved in its ... B: I make a small contribution, but I am not active in alumni affairs. 21

PAGE 23

FP 64 Page 22 W: And your philosophy is now we have the buildings done, let's raise the quality of the University of Florida. That is the flagship university and that is the one that ought to be made great. B: No, I do not think of it in that way. I think you have to be very pragmatic about that, and I am not so sure that the prestige of a university is of great significance to me [more] than it seems to some [other] people. I think every development in a university has to be gauged on what it returns to the people of Florida. I do not think an institution stands by itself. We want to have a great state, and we want the University of Florida to contribute to it, [as well as] Florida State University and Florida A&M, and all the others. You have to make pragmatic decisions on the development of each university, but I would not start out that we are going to build a great university that is one of the three best in the nation. I would not do that. W: I saw some interesting statistics that the university I went to may have a better reputation than Florida. But I saw a list of universities, and the University of Florida was up there in the top ten somewhere. A good gauge. It is not touted as a great institution. B: That is right. W: But the results ... B: Well, there is the pragmatic approach. Maybe this a trick that [plays on one's mind]. I have a hard time remembering [certain facts]. The only veto I had overridden that I remember was a veto of a horse track and a dog track. In fact, it was two horse tracks--Pompano and Orlando. I thought Florida did not need more gambling, and I vetoed both of those bills. Both of those vetoes were overridden. W: Were you active in the campaign against the casinos? B: Yes, I was pretty hostile at the time. I do not believe I lost any other vetoes, and I do not believe I ever lost a cabinet vote. Most of the [goals] I tried to [achieve], we did. Now maybe I just selected the [tasks] that are easy to [accomplish]. B: But I do not remember losing many times. W: Was it fun being governor? B: Yes, sir. 22

PAGE 24

FP 64 Page 23 W: Did you enjoy it more than [being in] the House of Representatives? B: No, being a House member is more fun. W: You do not have the weight of the world on your shoulders. B: No, and there is the debate. You are fighting a guy on this bill and hugging him on the next one, and the guy who defeats you on one measure supports you on the next one. It is more like a game. Being governor is serious business. You are by yourself to a large degree. But I loved being in the House. I loved committee work. I loved the debates. I just liked it. W: Which governor--and this is a question that you may decide to decline if you want to--do you feel least in agreement with, say since World War II, [regarding] your philosophies and [what has] gone on in Florida? B: I would have to say Claude Kirk--his implementation of his philosophy. Actually, while I was in Washington [appointed to the National Security Council and the Office of Emergency Planning by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966] representing President Johnson, [president, 1963-1968], Claude and I got along well. I have good relations with him personally, but his style is so foreign to my own. W: Did you know him in Jacksonville? B: No. W: Do you believe that about Governor Collins when he got into politics again [the former governor ran for the U.S. Senate and was defeated in the 1968 election]? B: No. I supported him in his race and, of course, I knew that old governors do not get re-elected in Florida. That is just the way the state works, but hope springs eternal. W: Do you consider yourself active in politics now? B: On the periphery. I am not active in the sense that I am not putting up bumper stickers, but I do try to make small contributions. W: I mean publicly, come out and support [candidates]. 23

PAGE 25

FP 64 Page 24 B: Oh, yes. I do that. W: Give me a synopsis of what Florida was like in the time when you were growing up. Describe the feeling that you had for Marion County since you were born there. B: As a young man, my views were very provincial. I really was very conservative by nature and did not look much beyond the immediate time and place. I can remember [being involved] in the Junior Chamber of Commerce and other similar activities. I was usually on the side of the stand-patters and the stay-putters. That was interesting because today that is not my viewpoint. It resulted more from inward looking. I was very studious. I spent my time in the library. I was just not an outgoing person. Once I became exposed to the world, my attitude changed. Florida at that time was a quiet state. The tourists were here, but their numbers were not so great that they really inundated us. They were Yankees, and they just came in and out without really affecting us very much in my life. And it was a conservative environment. Mom, apple pie, and the flag were features of the state and the society that I knew at that time. I believed in the virtues of hard work, and I was really out of the nineteenth century in many respects in my earlier years. Obviously this is a world which is becoming more and more egalitarian. I dislike that. I think it is dangerous and destructive, and I hope the pendulum swings back. The French people, in their revolution, opted for life, liberty, and equality. We opted for freedom, which is quite different. And I see an erosion of that commitment to freedom today, which is dangerous. W: I want to ask now, before we close, what sort of readings do you do today? Do you have time for extra-curricular reading outside of work? B: Well, of course, I read the current magazines. Right now I am reading A Bodyguard of Lies, which is about World War II British intelligence operations. I have read H.R. Haldeman's The Ends of Power and David Halberstam's The Best and the Brightest. That is the kind of reading I do when I have time. W: Do you have a sort of political interest? B: Yes, I do. I just do not read novels. I just do not have the time for that. 24


1:KA MN [Ci:MEI m 0 1


FP 64
Interviewee: Farris Bryant
Interviewer: Ray Washington
Date: March 1979
W: This is an interview with Farris Bryant, former governor of Florida, which took
place in March 1979 at his office building, the Voyager Insurance Company in
Jacksonville, Florida. The discussions took place over a period of two days, only
some of which would be included on this tape. Side one was on one day. Side
two would be on another. The portions of the conversations selected for tape
were those which dealt more specifically with his philosophies and his actions as governor [1961-1965]. The only voices are those of myself and Governor Bryant.
Your first entrance into politics was in the House of Representatives in 1942? B: Yes, that is correct.
W: This was the first office you held? B: Yes, [but] I never served. I resigned before the first session to go into the
service.
W: Was there one representative from Marion County at that time? One senator? B: There were two representatives and one senator. W: When you returned from the service, did you run again for the same [office]? B: Yes, in 1946 I ran and continued to serve through 1956. W: Did another fellow run for the office and have it while you were gone or ... B: Yes, one of the chaps I had defeated had been a veteran of World War I. W: He was an older fellow.
B: Right. He served during that time. W: Did you find yourself having to run against him again when you got back or did
he drop out of it?
B: No, he dropped out of it, and so I did not have to run against him. W: In the 1956 gubernatorial election--I was curious to know--in those days a lot of
the governors had the political spectrum idea of left and right. Do you have any

1


FP 64
Page 2
idea in your own mind of how your own philosophy would rank with Earl Warren
[Earl Warren, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1954-1969] and LeRoy
Collins [LeRoy Collins, governor of Florida, 1955-1961], [and] of how you would
fit on that spectrum?
B: There was a third man in there, fourth man, Sumter Lowry [gubernatorial
candidate in 1956]. I would say that at that time, so far as philosophy is
concerned--I do not mean the practical implications of philosophy--but if [each of
us] had been writing a book, there would not have been too much difference.
W: Now Sumter Lowry would be included?
B: Sumter would have been different.
W: I see, but as far as you four, LeRoy Collins, etc.
B: That is correct.
W: All right. I was in one of the interviews with Millard Caldwell [Millard F. Caldwell,
governor of Florida, 1945-1949] in Tallahassee, [and] I asked him, what governor
do you feel most comfortable with as far as philosophy. He said, Farris Bryant.
B: Yes.
W: He said you would not agree with this, but your announced philosophy is a lot
more liberal, [and] that your practical philosophy is about right.
B: Well, he is [making] an interesting [point], and I understand what he is saying.
Actually, I suppose my practical politics are probably a bit more liberal than my
public statements would evidence--not because of any deception. Simply because as I approached the solution of problems, I think I became more
pragmatic, and sometimes that pragmatism required some changes in
philosophy. For instance, I will give you a broad illustration. When you are
running for office, you want 51 percent of the votes or 52 or 55 [percent]. When you are governor, you represent 100 percent of the votes. There is a difference.
In running for office, you have to please the majority. But when you have the responsibility as governor, your responsibility is to everybody, and you simply
have to recognize the viewpoints and the rights of even those who disagree with
you on basic philosophic grounds.
W: And this comes as you are in office of governor and you go into ...

2


FP 64
Page 3
B: A problem arises and you might say, I am a stern conservative, to heck with
them. You cannot do that. If you are going to be a governor of Florida or hold
any political office, you have to consider the views and the interests of
everybody.
W: There is an interesting way of approaching problems that LeRoy Collins
presented. I think people said the difference he had [with] Dan McCarty [Daniel
T. McCarty, governor of Florida, 1953], when they asked him, how [do] you stand
on this [certain issue], he said his philosophy was a pragmatic view. If you can get something done, devote your energy to that instead of using a shotgun and
blasting out. What Collins said, McCarty was opposed to, and he thought you did not have to necessarily believe you could get something accomplished in order to
do it.
B: Well, I think it is a valid comment by Governor Collins and I should be more on
the McCarty side. I tried to measure myself by what I accomplished.
W: By what you could get a visible feel for.
B: That is correct. I certainly recognize the validity of what Collins is saying in that
in the long scheme of [events], perhaps your philosophical approach is
unimportant whether you accomplish anything or not. But if there are people who
are hungry or mistreated today or who are trying to exercise their opportunities as Americans today, my making a great speech about it--which has no effect-seems to me to be not the most useful [action to take]. The most useful [plan] is
to meet their problems.
W: I understand.
B: Right. I found that the most important part of being governor was making
decisions, because until the governor makes a decision, nothing happens, that is,
in areas for which he is responsible. People around with resources--with
machines, with pencils--are ready to carry out a program, but somebody has to decide. I think sometimes it is more important to make a decision and move on
than it is to sit back and philosophize about it or generalize about it. To bring you
down to its simplest illustration: You are going to build a road between town A
and town B. There are a thousand different routes you can follow, each of them has advantages and disadvantages, and you can agonize over which is the right one. The important [point] is to make a decision and build the road. It will not be
perfect and there will be some injustices done and some benefits derived, but
keep your eye on the ball and build the road the best you can. You have to just
go ahead and do it.

3


FP 64
Page 4
W: It will not extend to predict the future anyway, I guess.
B: That is correct. When you have done all the studies you can do, you are
probably still going to be wrong in your decisions.
W: I wanted to ask you about Marion County [during] the time that you were growing
up. Were your folks from there?
B: Yes, sir.
W: How long had they been there?
B: Since 1890.
W: What part of the country did they come from?
B: Missouri. My father came as a boy of five. My mother was born in Marion
County [as were] her parents. It was my father's family who came in 1890. [As
to] my mother's family, it was before that [time]. They are from Charleston, South
Carolina.
W: What was the political atmosphere in Marion County at the time you were
growing up there? Over in Bradford County, when I was talking to Charley Johns
[Charley E. Johns, acting governor of Florida, 1953-1954], I was struck by the
political county back in that time. Everybody was in politics heading toward
Tallahassee. Was that kind of atmosphere in Marion County? Were there a lot
of people interested in politics? What got you interested in politics?
B: See this watch? That watch was given to my uncle in 1913, my mother's brother
[ion L. Farris]. And she adored him.
W: He had been in [politics] around the turn of the century?
B: Yes, he was the speaker of the House in 1913.
W: You were named for [him]?
B: That is correct. And my mother, the day I was born, had my father hold me up
and she said, hello, governor. So I can tell you that I have no memory of a time when I was not going to be governor of Florida. It is just that she started me off.
I was taking declamation lessons and studying civics and government through all

4


FP 64
Page 5
those years. As a child, I just assumed that I was going to be governor or [some
other high-ranking politician]. I had to get ready.
W: There was sort of [an incentive] in the back of your mind.
B: That is correct. That is why I am not really a natural politician, as many people
would term it. I am sure if you picked someone with ideal qualities for a successful politician, you would not pick me. But my mother was a very
determined person, obviously a great influence in my life.
W: Had your uncle wanted to be governor also?
B: He ran for governor. He served twice as speaker of the House. He was the first
speaker to do that.
W: During World War I?
B: From 1913 to 1917 and then he ran for governor in 1918 and was unsuccessful
[he actually ran unsuccessfully in the gubernatorial Democratic primary of 1916].
Just this morning, in my den at home, I found a scrapbook of his campaigns. I
said to myself, I have to get that down to the University of Florida library. It is
really a ledger book, an old bookkeeping ledger book [which contains] newspaper
clippings of his campaigns.
W: All over the state?
B: Yes. And I have given my papers to the University of Florida, but I have not
delivered all [the papers] to them. I want to deliver that one to UF because it is
really a historic piece.
W: Did your uncle live long enough to be an encouragement to you?
B: Not really. He lived in Jacksonville. My home is in Ocala, and I saw him
infrequently.
W: What sort of business was your father in?
B: My father was a farm boy [but] he became a certified public accountant. He was
a member of the first board of CPAs in Florida and that was always his business.
W: The way you talk, you inferred that the politics came more from your mother.

5


FP 64
Page 6
B: Entirely.
W: I see.
B: My father had no political interests at all and my mother died. W: When you were first elected to the [Florida] House of Representatives, were your
parents still alive at that time?
B: Both of them were alive then. My mother died during World War II, and so she
never saw me serve in the legislature. My father died in 1949, so he never even
knew that I was speaker of the House, as far as that is concerned.
W: What sort of forces were going on in your education? I noticed you went to
Emory first before you went to the University of Florida. I was curious about what
would take you up to Atlanta instead of the University of Florida. B: I do not know why Emory was selected. W: Were you there for a couple of years? B: One year. I was only fifteen when I graduated from high school. I was there one
year, and I did not want to go back the second year. I was involved with a girl. W: From your hometown?
B: That is right. Emory was too far away, so my father put me on the train [and] on
the way to Emory, I got off in Gainesville. [He] did not know it for several weeks! W: And you finished there in three more years. B: That is right.
W: [Did] the law school at Florida require a four-year degree before entering? B: No, it did not. It was just beginning to phase into that. At that time, you could
take three years of undergraduate [courses] and two years in law and have both
degrees. No, [you] just [needed to] have the one degree, I believe. But you were
a lawyer at the end of that five-year span.
W: You had never been interested in taking that route?

6


FP 64
Page 7
B: No, I had not.
W: Who initially had the Harvard idea? B: My mother.
W: She figured that would help you in politics? B: No. She just thought that it was the best law school in the country, and she
wanted her son to have the best there was. That was just basically it. W: How old were you when you entered Harvard? B: Twenty.
W: You graduated when you were twenty-three? B: Twenty-three.
W: How old were you when you were elected to the legislature? B: In 1942, 1 was twenty-eight. W: You had practiced law for five years before that? B: No. I graduated from law school in 1938. I tried to get a job as a lawyer in
Florida. The most money I could get was $50 per month. I got two offers of $50
per month.
W: What towns were they in? B: Tallahassee and Orlando. I could not live on $50, and I did not want to be
dependent on my family anymore, so I went up to Tallahassee and got a job as
an adding machine operator. They called me an auditor for the state of Florida. [I was a] controller at $120 a month, and I stayed there a year-and-a-half and then
got married and moved back to Ocala and opened my own law office. W: In private practice?
B: Correct. I was there when World War II began and I quit. W: So you had more or less gone to Tallahassee to get your financial footing?

7


FP 64
Page 8
B: Right. I was in Ocala for little more than a year, and so I had not really practiced
law when the war began.
W: When you ran for office, was that after war had been declared?
B: No, before.
W: Actually, the election was in May, but in those days, you started running in
November of the preceding year. That was just the pattern. And I had
announced in November and then, of course, in December 1941 war was
declared. Then I immediately wrote to the navy and said, I volunteer. But the navy did not act on my volunteering until a little later. In the meantime, until I
heard from the navy, I kept running. That is how it happened.
W: But you were in the navy before you were in the [Florida] House?
B: That is right. I went into the navy probably in May or before that.
W: Was there a special election to fill your seat?
B: Yes.
W: Had you made any long-range plan [at age] twenty-eight, when you should run
for the legislature, and it just happened that you were in Ocala at that time? You
knew eventually it was going to happen, but it was just a matter of being in the
right position.
B: Right. First of all, I had to be able to make a living. The pay in the legislature
was $6 a day, for sixty days, every two years, or $360 for two years' service.
There is no way you can get along on your legislative pay. You had to be making
a living in order to be in the legislature.
W: Speaking of that, I will just ask you on the record or off the record, what your
opinion is of the proposed pay raise to the legislature.
B: Well, it is a difficult [question] to answer because first of all, when you get a
professional legislator, I think the decision is, shall you make him a professional
legislator? That decision has been made. I would have been opposed to it. I
think it should still be on a voluntary basis, more or less, a non-paying basis, but
it is not. That decision has been made, and I really do not have an opinion on
the difference between $12,000 and whatever else we are talking about.

8


FP 64
Page 9
W: Do you think a state that is growing and as complex as Florida still should have a
non-professional ...
B: It would be a lot better off, in my judgment.
W: What about a session every two years instead of every one year?
B: I like that, too. I think it is all part of [having] too much government. But that is
my opinion.
W: [Could you] make a breaking point [about the] time when Florida politics changed
from the simple way? When you were governor, you told me that the staff knew people at the head of every agency. You actually knew those people. You knew
what was going on.
B: Sure.
W: Was that still the case when you were governor?
B: Yes, it was.
W: Is there a point you can name, in general, when that change was made?
B: No. I think it has a lot to do with style. It is not that there are so many more
agencies now. A governor can still know the controlling people in his
government, but you have so many aides. You delegate so much today.
W: You think that is more style than necessity?
B: Yes, I do.
W: So it was not necessarily the change in time, but the change in people who came
into office.
B: It was a change in times, too. Times change, styles [change], and another factor
is the huge amount of money available now. For instance, when I was governor, you had one highway patrol aide and that was it. Now [governors] have seven or
eight. There are no more hours in the day now than there were then. The
governor does not travel anymore now than he did then. But in those days, if you
would have seven or eight highway patrol aides, they would have been climbing
the walls to get at you. For instance, the state had never furnished a governor an
airplane when I became governor. I bought a second-hand Aerocommander for $50,000, and then I had a mapping camera put in there on a detachable sort of

9


FP 64
Page 10
basis so that when I was not using it, they used it for mapping roads. Still, there
was a great hue and cry about spending all that money on an airplane. Today,
you spend a couple of million [dollars] on a jet, [and] nobody thinks anything
about it. But that is style, not just the governor's style, but just the style of
government at this time.
W: More money.
B: Yes.
W: Right. You are in Jacksonville, so it probably came home to you pretty close, this
mayor's race. I never thought I would see a mayor's race cost a half a million
dollars. Did it cost more than your campaign for governor?
B: No, it did not.
W: OK. Certainly in this last gubernatorial race [Bob Graham versus Jack Eckerd in
election of 1978], there was more money involved than in the race you had [in
1960]. $10 million.
B: I suppose, there were ten Democratic candidates when I ran.
W: You are talking about the second time [in 1960].
B: That is right. And I suppose the total expenditures were about $6 or $7 million. It
was a lot of money.
W: So [it was] an expensive operation to run for governor. When you ran, it was
expensive.
B: It really was, and it was real dollars.
W: If you were of age and of inclination to run for governor today [1979], what would
you do differently than you did in 1960?
B: In 1960, and this is an overstatement, I knew everybody in Florida. I had been
traveling in the state continuously for ten years. I had made a speech at every
Rotary Club and every church. You name it, I had been there. Every strawberry
festival [and other major events], I had been there. In every town I knew the
leadership of that community, and when I say "every," I mean just that: every. I knew who the people were. Today, that is impossible. Today, a governor has
been so well displayed that everybody pretty much knows him. A fellow, who is

10


FP 64
Page 11
running for governor and trying to get exposure, can walk through condominiums
and supermarkets and nobody knows him. Literally. That was not so. But I
knew people. So in those days, I cultivated my memory at that time and I could [recall] the names of thousands of people. I made it a point to do so. That was
one of the arts. But today [when] a governor comes here, you do not expect him
to know [everybody]. He will know a few people, but you do not expect him to know any great number of people. I knew them and I knew their wives in most
instances. It was just different.
W: [Are members of] the media more involved in the campaign today?
B: Much more. If you do not reach them through the media, you cannot reach them.
That is true, so true.
W: Coming from small Ocala--l have trouble saying that Marion County is small.
B: It is. It was and it is.
W: Coming from that sort of background, do you have any feelings about the way
the state is going through growth? I know that you have a business background.
I am sure that is good.
B: I will tell you how I have expressed it. During the time that I was governor, I
worked hard to try to make Florida grow, and it was always sad to see.
Obviously, it is a more pleasant place without the constant turmoil and change. I
would rather walk down the street and know everybody. Now I walk down the
street and I see strangers. Then I walked down the street and I saw friends.
That is the difference, and, of course, those earlier, less chaotic days were more pleasant, but that is just dreaming. Florida will never stop growing. We will enter
a statistic that has always fascinated me. From 1830 down to 1950, Florida
doubled in population every twenty years. From 1950 to 1960, it doubled again.
Now it continues to grow, and Florida will always grow that way. I am speaking in terms of life spans, not eternities. But Florida has qualities that the people of
this country want, and they are going to continue to come here. It is not a
question of whether it is going to grow. It is going to be a question of how we will
manage that growth to make it better.
W: So is it unrealistic to shout about? Was 1956 the only political election you ever
lost?

11


FP 64
Page 12
B: No. First of all, I ran for speaker of the House. I was elected; I first served in the
House in the session of 1947 and in 1949. I ran for speaker of the House and
was defeated. In 1953, I ran again and was selected.
W: Within the House?
B: That is right. Then I ran for the [United States] Senate in 1970 and lost that
election. I won the first primary, but lost in the general election [to Lawton Chiles
474,420 to 247,211].
W: Which was most upsetting to you? When you lost in 1970 or lost in 1956? I do
not mean "upsetting"--I mean that caused you the most regret for entering the
race?
B: I never regretted entering. I have never entered a race where there was not a
great benefit and tremendous experience. So I regret having done [deeds] that perhaps caused me to lose, or not having done [deeds] that would have caused
me to win. But I do not ever regret having run for office. It is a great,
broadening, enriching experience. But [to] try to give some sort of a positive answer to your question, they were quite different. My problem in the race of
1970 was that I was not prepared. In 1956, I was prepared. There had been a confluence of circumstances. My plans had been to run in 1956. Dan McCarty
died in 1953.
W: You did not count on having to run against someone who had been in office?
B: No. The constitution says you may not be re-elected. So I read the constitution
and got some advice [from] attorneys. They said, if you run now, you will just
have a three-year term and you cannot run again. Well, I did not want to do that.
So I said, OK, I am not going to run in 1954, I will run in 1956. That [did not turn] out to be a wise decision because the Florida Supreme Court, a few days before
the election, said that Collins, who had been elected in 1954 [to fulfill Dan
McCarty's term], could run for re-election.
W: Of course, if you had gone ahead and run in 1954, you never could tell how the
Florida Supreme Court would have acted again.
B: No way.
W: Collins won in the first primary.

12


FP 64
Page 13
B: Yes. He won, Sumter [L. Lowry] was second, I was third and Fuller [Warren] was
fourth.
W: Do you see your defeat as a steppingstone? B: Yes. I started running for governor again the next day. I never quit on the idea.
Now, in 1970, I had developed some obligations to this operation here. W: When did you move to Jacksonville? B: 1965.
W: Immediately after? B: And I had planned not to run because I did not have the time, but then they
passed a law changing the election date from May to September, and I thought
maybe that will give me time. But it did not. I did not lay the groundwork
properly, did not do my homework properly.
W: After that election, did you make a conscious decision to avoid seeking other
political office?
B: No, I did not.
W: You left yourself flexible to circumstances. B: I tried. You can never tell what is going to happen. So I always leave the door
open, even though I have absolutely no plans to do anything. I see no point in
barring yourself from one course or another.
W: The way you were speaking, the gubernatorial election was something you had
envisioned from childhood? B: Right.
W: And you had accomplished that, something [that] came to you naturally. B: Right.
W: You think being out of the public light for that long was a factor?

13


FP 64
Page 14
B: The [point] that was a factor was that the political environment in Florida had
changed and I had not. The Vietnam War, environmental issues, the egalitarian
philosophy that had developed all made a large impact on the population of
Florida, that political entity, but I am not an egalitarian. I was not disaffected by
the Vietnam War, and I really think in that period of time [that] the
environmentalists were extreme in their views. But, nevertheless, they were the majority in that time. I continued to espouse the Cross-Florida Barge Canal. But obviously it had no great appeal across a broad spectrum, and there were many
people who were very much opposed to it. But I thought it was good and I was
for it.
W: Have you changed now?
B: No, I am still for it. It is a great mistake not to build that canal, a great mistake for
which we will pay, but I am sure that my views do not represent the majority
feeling.
W: Would your views carry over on nuclear energy now?
B: I think we have to develop. Now, I have never made a study of these problems.
W: Right.
B: I understand the canal, I studied the problems.
W: On the face of it, nuclear energy seems like ...
B: Is one of the options we have to pursue, yes.
W: What was the greatest success of your administration?
B: I will mention two or three [points] that were important to me. First of all, in 1961,
the great baby boom was moving through the high schools of the state and
obviously were going to descend on the colleges. We were totally unprepared.
We did not have the junior colleges that we have now, and we had only three
major state universities. I felt that we had to get prepared for that, so I espoused a constitutional amendment and helped to push it through the legislature. I think I am somewhat responsible for its passing. That amendment has produced, from those years down to now, just a little more than a billion dollars in funds that have
gone to build the twenty-eight junior colleges and the additional universities that
we have. I think if that had not been done, there is no way that we could have
met the educational needs that we faced. We have done all the brick-and-mortar

14


FP 64
Page 15
advances that we should do. Future emphasis should not be placed on
[constructing] more buildings, [but] you have to maintain the ones you have. Of course, there is always some development that must be faced. But the quantity of buildings is adequate now, for a long time and [what] we have to emphasize is
the quality of the education. Secondly, at that time, U.S. 1 was not four-laned.
The interstates were not built--I-95 and 1-75 were not built. There was no
[Florida] Turnpike, and I [could] see that that was one of the critical issues that
we had to face. So over the opposition of Governor Collins in particular, we built
the turnpike from Fort Pierce north to Wildwood. We built 1-75. We built 1-95,
almost finished one southern portion which had the turnpike--we did not build that
part of it. We four-laned U.S. 301 across the state. We four-laned State Road
60 to meet the turnpike from Tampa. We built Alligator Alley across the southern
part of the state, and all to great hue and cry. But I have a term out there [to
use], speaking of your earlier question. [Regarding] my difference philosophically and pragmatically, they say you consider yourself a free man--are you free to go to Orlando? Only if you have a road or some other way to get there. And I can
see that providing people the options was not only an economic development,
but it was also a philosophic development. It increases man's freedom when you
give him more options of [what] he can do. This country does not realize--I am
speaking broadly now, not just of Florida--what it has in this tremendous
transportation infrastructure, as compared with any other nation in the world. It is
just fantastic. Just incredible.
W: Expansion of the colleges and the roads were two of them. And the third?
B: And the third [point] was conservation. We began a program at that time, the
same election at which we adopted the amendment relative to the funding of the
universities. We developed an amendment which provided for a trust fund for the
acquisition of lands to be held by the public. The funds were coming from
miscellaneous tax sources, largely sports related. W: They were earmarked for that purpose?
B: Correct. And [we had several] thoughts in mind. We could see that Florida was
going to continue to grow. If we were going to acquire recreational areas, in
particular, to be maintained for the public--beaches, riverfronts, and so forth, we had better do it before the need arose--or before it became critical. The second [point] that we had in mind was that we should acquire lands that could be used
for power establishments--power plants. Even at that time you could begin to see that that was going to be a real issue. Now the nuclear power plant issue
was not great then, but just the construction of power plants.

15


FP 64
Page 16
W: You were not talking about putting the state in the power business, but selling the
land to the power companies.
B: Acquiring lands with plenty of guard space. You would sell them or license to
them, but to be sure that their plants would be in places that would be least
objectionable, least harmful. Well, unfortunately, that idea never really caught
on. We passed a constitutional amendment, but it was ignored or canceled after a couple of years. The legislature undid that work and so that conservation fund
was dissipated and those lands were not in any significant way acquired. They should have been, and I am sorry that people later on did not agree with me on
that. I think today we all wish that had been done.
W: We have certain parts of that program working.
B: In a different form.
W: Yes.
B: That is true. That one was disbanded and then they cranked it up again in
another form, but I wanted to build up a constitutional fund that would be
continuously used for future generations.
W: So you see your success was getting the idea across.
B: That is correct.
W: The three areas [in which] you were successful--again in your philosophy--are
pretty tangible [areas] that you can see.
B: That is correct.
W: Which governor did you feel closest to?
B: Let me [discuss something else], which I have been thinking [about]. We came
through a day of great racial strife without any bad marks. You would not
remember, of course, but the Freedom Riders [and] Martin Luther King, Jr., at St.
Augustine [in 1964], in particular, were just two examples. In St. Augustine, there were no heads bashed, nobody was harmed, and we used the forces of the state
to ensure that everybody had a right--or had the power to do what he had the
right to do. I was under threat of federal judicial punishment. A federal judge set
me down to show cause why I should not be held in contempt for violating his orders. What we did was maintain the peace and tranquillity of the state. We

16


FP 64
Page 17
saw that everybody had the power to do whatever he had the right to do. Now,
[the federal judge] wanted me to disband the curfew and [other restrictions],
which I refused to do. But in spite of the turmoil of that time, the atmosphere of
racial antagonism never really grabbed hold in the state.
W: So you would say during your term, more than the other governor's term
[Collins's term], [racial tensions] were put out that came into this area?
B: No question about it. That was when Bobby Kennedy and Jack Kennedy were
up, and Martin Luther King, Jr., and Andrew Young and Hosea Williams were all coming into Florida and raising cane. In spite of what they did, we kept a clamp on it in such a way that we never gave them the spark for the conflagration that
they were trying to set.
W: In the 1960 campaign, you made a statement that you would never allow any
black children in our white schools or [words] to that effect.
B: I do not think that I made that statement. Because they already were.
W: Of course, not in all-white schools. I guess [there were some] schools that
already were integrated, and there were all-white schools that had not been
integrated yet.
B: There still are.
W: Yes.
B: I do not remember making that categorical statement. It is a long time now, but I
do not remember making that categorical statement. Do you find that I did?
W: Well, in the course of reading, I had seen a quote attributed to you. Of course, I
did not hear it myself.
B: I do not think so. Could be, but I do not think so.
W: Have your views on this subject changed like everyone else's has changed?
How would you say they have changed?
B: I made a speech back in 1954 that stated purely and simply that the problem will
be solved, not by government, but by people. When I can walk down the street
or a black man can walk down the street and [neither one] not feel enmity for the [approaching] fellow] that is when we will solve our racial problems. We will not

17


FP 64
Page 18
solve them by enforced busing or enforced integration. We will solve them only
when the black people are more successful, when the black people become
establishment-oriented. Did you see Arthur Ashe [professional tennis player and
winner of several world titles] on television yesterday [March 1979]?
W: No, I did not.
B: I watched him on the [TV program] "60 Minutes."
W: He was talking about this.
B: That is correct. He was [saying] that in order for us to solve that problem--if it
ever can be solved and I am not sure that it can--it is going to have to be done by blacks and whites moving together in their goals, in their methods of living, and in
their methods of speaking.
W: I suppose, in the public schools of Marion County, of course, you would not have
had any black professors. But at the Harvard Law School there probably were.
B: Sure, we had some there.
W: All right. I want to go back to the question I asked about the governor you felt
closest to. You could ask that in two ways: personally and then philosophically,
or maybe they are the same.
B: Personally, Caldwell [Millard Caldwell, governor of Florida, 1945-1949] was
[twelve] years before me. In the life of Florida, [twelve years] is a long time.
Caldwell was more conservative than I am. I liked him. He was a good friend of
mine. I liked Doyle Carlton [Doyle E. Carlton, governor of Florida, 1929-1933]
who was the governor in the [early] 1930s. I thought he was a tremendous
fellow. I cannot give you a philosophical parallel. I liked Dan McCarty a lot. I
liked Spessard Holland [Spessard L. Holland, governor of Florida, 1941-1945] an
awful lot. But he was governor during World War II when there really were not
any basic problems. Fuller [Fuller Warren, governor of Florida, 1949-1953] and I were different. Charley Johns [acting governor of Florida, 1953-1954] and I were different. LeRoy Collins [governor of Florida, 1954-1955, 1955-1961] and I were
initially very much alike, but I thought he changed, which probably means I
changed.
W: You did not agree with him on reapportionment.

18


FP 64
Page 19
B: Well, it is a funny [situation]. That is where we broke. He called a session in
1955 for the purpose of solving the reapportionment problem and said we are going to stay here until we do it, but he did not. He let us go home, and I got
mad at him for doing that.
W: Got mad at him, not for letting you go home, but for calling you in the first place? B: No, for not staying there until the problem was solved. The problem was not
going away. All you were doing was just postponing it, and the divisiveness of
the issue was very great. I thought we ought to stay there until it was done. He
said that was what we were going to do and I supported him 100 percent. W: For staying there until it was decided, not necessarily the way he wanted it
decided.
B: That is correct, but it should have been decided. W: Yes.
B: In some way. And I supported him up until he sent down a message saying, you
can go home, and that is when I blasted him. That is when we separated. W: Over that issue.
B: Yes. He got mad at me, of course, then he supported [in the 1960 Democratic
governor primary] Doyle Carlton, Jr. [son of former governor, Doyle Carlton, Sr.]
and that did not bring us any closer together.
W: It is interesting [when] he said that that was one of the [endorsements] that he
considered a mistake.
B: Did he?
W: Yes. It is interesting that none of the governors you mentioned is from a very
recent time. Governors you mentioned you felt closer to were previous to you. B: Governor Burns [Haydon Burns, governor of Florida, 1965-1967] and I were not
close.
W: Did you know him?
B: I knew him well.

19


FP 64
Page 20
W: Do you have personal or philosophical differences?
B: I guess it would be both of them. Governor Kirk [Claude Kirk, Jr., governor of
Florida, 1967-1971] and I, of course, were not close, either personally or
philosophically. I liked him all right, but we have nothing in common. Governor Askew [Reubin Askew, governor of Florida, 1971-1979] and I were always good friends, but it was a different day. The issues were much different, naturally, and
he was elected in 1970. I was elected in 1960. That is a long time in the life of
Florida. He and I were always good friends and are today.
W: You do not know Bob Graham well?
B: No. I have known Bob a long time [who was recently elected governor in
November 1978], and I think him a highly intelligent, well-motivated person. I
expect him to make a very good governor. But, I am not close to him.
W: I noticed a curious [aspect] in his campaign was some broadcast of Dempsey
Barron [Dempsey J. Barron, president of the Florida State Senate, 1975-1976]
that W.D. Childers [Wyon D. Childers, president of the Florida State Senate,
1981-1982] made. Are you familiar with the broadcast I am talking about?
B: Yes, I am.
W: That and the fact that you had gone to Harvard Law School sort of turned against
[you].
B: Yes.
W: Did that [issue] come up in your campaign?
B: Yes, it did. We were on a debate in the Tampa area, Doyle [Carlton, Jr.] and I--I
guess for the second primary--and he, in the give-and-take of debate, made
reference to this Harvard lawyer.
W: Whether it was a connotation as a slick person or a ...
B: I forget what the connotation was, but he was not complimenting me, let me say
that. He did not mean to be paying me any compliments by [that remark]. I do
not know what he was trying to say, but I will guarantee you he was not trying to
praise me. I responded to him at that time with another [issue]. I pointed out that
he had never graduated from college and I did it by saying that I am sorry he

20


FP 64
Page 21
does not like my college education--I am not critical of his. He decided to drop
out of college when he was a sophomore, and that is all right. I have no quarrel
with that.
W: You were saying that you had no criticism of his lack of college? B: That is right. Of course, what I was doing was just goosing him the way he had
goosed me.
W: You would not have gone into that if it had not been brought up? B: No. That is right. It is the only reference that I remembered. Of course, when I
first ran as a legislator, it was a big handicap in my hometown. People wanted to
know why I thought I was so uppity that I had to go [to Harvard]. W: You have some odd ideas up there. B: That is right. That Yankee school. W: Do you still keep close ties with Marion County? B: I go down there twice a month for business obligations. W: So you are pretty close to it? B: Yes, I am.
W: Had you considered going back there after governor? B: Oh, yes. I did consider it. I came here because we were trying to raise money to
build this insurance company, and there is more money in Jacksonville than
there is in Ocala. That is why I came to Jacksonville, basically. W: The governorship was the [goal] you had aimed for? B: All my life, that was all.
W: We were talking about education and your views on that. Are you involved in the
University of Florida at all, involved in its alumni association or involved in its .. B: I make a small contribution, but I am not active in alumni affairs.

21


FP 64
Page 22
W: And your philosophy is now we have the buildings done, let's raise the quality of
the University of Florida. That is the flagship university and that is the one that
ought to be made great.
B: No, I do not think of it in that way. I think you have to be very pragmatic about
that, and I am not so sure that the prestige of a university is of great significance to me [more] than it seems to some [other] people. I think every development in a university has to be gauged on what it returns to the people of Florida. I do not
think an institution stands by itself. We want to have a great state, and we want
the University of Florida to contribute to it, [as well as] Florida State University
and Florida A&M, and all the others. You have to make pragmatic decisions on the development of each university, but I would not start out that we are going to build a great university that is one of the three best in the nation. I would not do
that.
W: I saw some interesting statistics that the university I went to may have a better
reputation than Florida. But I saw a list of universities, and the University of
Florida was up there in the top ten somewhere. A good gauge. It is not touted
as a great institution.
B: That is right.
W: But the results ...
B: Well, there is the pragmatic approach. Maybe this a trick that [plays on one's
mind]. I have a hard time remembering [certain facts]. The only veto I had
overridden that I remember was a veto of a horse track and a dog track. In fact,
it was two horse tracks--Pompano and Orlando. I thought Florida did not need
more gambling, and I vetoed both of those bills. Both of those vetoes were
overridden.
W: Were you active in the campaign against the casinos?
B: Yes, I was pretty hostile at the time. I do not believe I lost any other vetoes, and I
do not believe I ever lost a cabinet vote. Most of the [goals] I tried to [achieve],
we did. Now maybe I just selected the [tasks] that are easy to [accomplish].
B: But I do not remember losing many times.
W: Was it fun being governor?
B: Yes, sir.

22


FP 64
Page 23
W: Did you enjoy it more than [being in] the House of Representatives?
B: No, being a House member is more fun.
W: You do not have the weight of the world on your shoulders.
B: No, and there is the debate. You are fighting a guy on this bill and hugging him
on the next one, and the guy who defeats you on one measure supports you on the next one. It is more like a game. Being governor is serious business. You
are by yourself to a large degree. But I loved being in the House. I loved
committee work. I loved the debates. I just liked it.
W: Which governor--and this is a question that you may decide to decline if you want
to--do you feel least in agreement with, say since World War II, [regarding] your
philosophies and [what has] gone on in Florida?
B: I would have to say Claude Kirk--his implementation of his philosophy. Actually,
while I was in Washington [appointed to the National Security Council and the
Office of Emergency Planning by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966]
representing President Johnson, [president, 1963-1968], Claude and I got along well. I have good relations with him personally, but his style is so foreign to my
own.
W: Did you know him in Jacksonville?
B: No.
W: Do you believe that about Governor Collins when he got into politics again [the
former governor ran for the U.S. Senate and was defeated in the 1968 election]?
B: No. I supported him in his race and, of course, I knew that old governors do not
get re-elected in Florida. That is just the way the state works, but hope springs
eternal.
W: Do you consider yourself active in politics now?
B: On the periphery. I am not active in the sense that I am not putting up bumper
stickers, but I do try to make small contributions.
W: I mean publicly, come out and support [candidates].

23


FP 64
Page 24
B: Oh, yes. I do that.
W: Give me a synopsis of what Florida was like in the time when you were growing
up. Describe the feeling that you had for Marion County since you were born
there.
B: As a young man, my views were very provincial. I really was very conservative
by nature and did not look much beyond the immediate time and place. I can
remember [being involved] in the Junior Chamber of Commerce and other similar
activities. I was usually on the side of the stand-patters and the stay-putters.
That was interesting because today that is not my viewpoint. It resulted more from inward looking. I was very studious. I spent my time in the library. I was just not an outgoing person. Once I became exposed to the world, my attitude
changed. Florida at that time was a quiet state. The tourists were here, but their
numbers were not so great that they really inundated us. They were Yankees,
and they just came in and out without really affecting us very much in my life.
And it was a conservative environment. Mom, apple pie, and the flag were
features of the state and the society that I knew at that time. I believed in the
virtues of hard work, and I was really out of the nineteenth century in many
respects in my earlier years. Obviously this is a world which is becoming more
and more egalitarian. I dislike that. I think it is dangerous and destructive, and I
hope the pendulum swings back. The French people, in their revolution, opted
for life, liberty, and equality. We opted for freedom, which is quite different. And
I see an erosion of that commitment to freedom today, which is dangerous.
W: I want to ask now, before we close, what sort of readings do you do today? Do
you have time for extra-curricular reading outside of work?
B: Well, of course, I read the current magazines. Right now I am reading A
Bodyguard of Lies, which is about World War II British intelligence operations. I
have read H.R. Haldeman's The Ends of Power and David Halberstam's The
Best and the Brightest. That is the kind of reading I do when I have time.
W: Do you have a sort of political interest?
B: Yes, I do. I just do not read novels. I just do not have the time for that.

24