Donald L. Tucker Former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives 1976–1980
Tuesday, March 10, 7:00 PM, Wakulla County Public Library the speaker for our WCHS second Tuesday program is Donald L. Tucker. We appreciate Don’s faithfulness as a WCHS member and contributor.
The Wakulla County History Society looks forward to another interesting program featuring a Wakulla native whose name is well-known, not only in Wakulla and Leon counties but also throughout the southern states. Does Donald L. Tucker sound familiar? Of course, there are few days that the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center is not mentioned in the Tallahassee news and activities. Many Wakulla residents think of the person, Donald Tucker, rather than the Civic Center when we hear the title.
Don, son of former Florida Senator Luther C. Tucker and wife, Grace Spears Tucker, grew up in Crawfordville, graduating from Crawfordville High School in 1953. Don, senior class president, student body president, and football team captain also attended Florida Boys State where he was elected Governor. After graduating high school, he attended Brigham Young University, enlisted in the Army and after being honorably discharged, served two years as a missionary. After receiving his law degree from the University of Florida, Don began his law practice in Tallahassee and built his home in Crawfordville.
In 1966, Don ran for, and was elected to represent Wakulla, Leon and Franklin Counties in the Florida Legislature. He was reelected the following five terms becoming Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, the only Speaker in Florida’s history to preside over four consecutive regular legislative sessions. He was chosen by fellow representatives on two occasions to receive the Florida Times Union Award as “Most Effective Member of the Legislature.”
In 1977, the Legislature unanimously passed the bill signed by Gov. Askew naming the Tallahassee Civic Center “The Donald L. Tucker Civic Center.” Don is also proud that he was responsible for the Continuing Education Center, the Gus Turnbull Building at FSU and the basketball arena at the University of Florida, “The O’Connell Center”.
He was appointed Chairman of the Latin American-Caribbean Commission by Governor Askew and was nominated by President Carter to be Vice-Chair of the Civil Aeronautics Board as well as commissioning him to serve as Special Ambassador to the Dominican Republic.
The Tallahassee Democrat had an extensive article about Don Tucker in April of 1976 in which he is portrayed as a savvy politician enjoying the game, but very much playing to win. Perhaps that is a very appropriate remark for the man whose name is on the Civic Arena.
The public is invited to attend our meeting on the 2nd Tuesday evening of March, 7pm, at the Wakulla Library. Come to meet and greet Don and to hear from a Wakulla County native that “made it in the world of politics.”
Submitted by Betty Green