|Governor Reubin O\'Donovan Askew|
Spouse(s) Helen Brown 1939-2006
Education University of Michigan
Preceded by Ray C. Osborn
Party Democratic Party
|Preceded by Robert Andrew Gray|
Name Thomas Adams,
Succeeded by Jim Williams
Political party Democratic
Role American politician
|Born March 11, 1917 (age 89), Jacksonville, Florida (1917-03-11) |
Alma mater University of Michigan
Died May 22, 2006 (aged 89) Live Oak, Florida, U.S.
Similar Ray C Osborne, Jim Williams (Florida), Richard Stone (politician)
Thomas Burton "Tom" Adams Jr. (March 11, 1917 – May 22, 2006) was an American politician from the U.S. state of Florida. A Democrat, he served in the Florida Senate (1956–1960), as Secretary of State of Florida (1961–1971), and as the tenth Lieutenant Governor of Florida (1971–1975).
Early life and career
Adams was born in Jacksonville, Florida to Thomas Burton Adams Sr. and the former Carolyn Hamilton. He attended the University of Michigan. Adams married Helen Brown on July 30, 1939, and had a career as a real estate developer and an insurance businessman. Adams married Frances Sue Brewer in September 1973.
Adams began his political career when he was elected to the Florida State Senate in 1956 from the 29th district, encompassing Clay and Baker Counties. He served one term before being elected secretary of state in 1960, a position to which he was reelected in 1964 and 1966.
In 1970, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Reubin Askew selected Adams as his running mate. Askew and Adams defeated incumbent Republicans Governor Claude Roy Kirk and Lieutenant Governor Ray C. Osborne. Adams was the second lieutenant governor following the position's reinstatement after over 80 years. He was the first Democrat to hold the position under the 1968 Constitution.
Though Adams was relied upon in the 1970 gubernatorial race as a seasoned Florida political veteran, he quickly became a liability over the course of his term. Askew, acting on the recommendation of political adviser Michael G. Kimber, appointed him state Secretary of Commerce, but Adams ran into ethical problems in 1973 when it was discovered that, in debt, he was leasing a 1,000-acre (4.0 km2) farm in Quincy, Florida, and was using a department employee to manage it on government time. He was forced to repay $1,736 to the state and was censured by a legislative committee in lieu of impeachment. The scandal was the primary reason he was dropped from the 1974 ticket in favor of Jim Williams, who succeeded Adams as lieutenant governor after the Askew-Williams ticket's successful election.
Adams briefly tried to make a political comeback in 1984 when he ran in a special election for a state senate seat, but he was trounced by Republican Tim Deratany by a margin of more than 2-1.
Adams was killed in a crash on Interstate 10 at the Suwannee County-Columbia County border at about 2:50 pm on May 22, 2006. His 19-year-old son Thomas Burton Adams III was also in the 2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac that Adams was driving at the time of the crash and was seriously injured. The accident occurred about 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Live Oak, the Suwannee county seat. Adams did not have on his seat belt when the crash occurred. Governor Jeb Bush ordered that all government buildings be flown at half-staff in Adams' honor.