Buddy MacKay

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Buddy MacKay
49 Mackay.jpg
42nd Governor of Florida
In office
December 12, 1998 – January 5, 1999
Lieutenant None
Preceded by Lawton Chiles
Succeeded by Jeb Bush
14th Lieutenant Governor of Florida
In office
January 8, 1991 – December 12, 1998
Governor Lawton Chiles
Preceded by Bobby Brantley
Succeeded by Frank Brogan
Presidential Special Envoy for the Americas
In office
1999–2001
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Mack McLarty
Succeeded by Otto Reich
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida's 6th district
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1989
Preceded by Bill Young
Succeeded by Cliff Stearns
Florida State Senator from 6th district
In office
January 3, 1975 – November 5, 1980
Succeeded by George Kirkpatrick
Personal details
Born Kenneth Hood MacKay, Jr.
(1933-03-22) March 22, 1933 (age 81)
Ocala, Florida
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Anne Selph (m. 1960)
Profession lawyer, politician
Religion Presbyterian
Military service
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1955-1958
Rank Captain

Kenneth Hood "Buddy" MacKay, Jr. (born March 22, 1933) is an American politician and diplomat from Florida. A Democrat, he was briefly the 42nd Governor of Florida following the death of Lawton Chiles on December 12, 1998. During his long public service career he was also state legislator, U.S. Representative, Lt. Governor and later special envoy of President Bill Clinton's administration for the Americas. As of 2014, he is the last Democrat to serve as Florida Governor, while Chiles remains the last Democrat elected to that office.

Early life and career[edit]

MacKay was born to a citrus-farming family in Ocala, Florida. He served in the United States Air Force during the 1950s, and then attended the University of Florida, where he was tapped in to Florida Blue Key and eventually received a law degree. MacKay was inducted into the University of Florida Hall of Fame (the most prestigious honor a student can receive from UF). He married Anne Selph in 1960; the couple has four sons.

MacKay was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1968, and to the Florida Senate in 1975. From 1983 to 1989 he served for three terms in the United States House of Representatives, where he made controlling the national budget one of his main concerns. In 1988 he received the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate, but lost in a very close race for that office to Connie Mack III.

Lieutenant Governor and gubernatorial candidate[edit]

MacKay won the 1990 Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor on the ticket headed by former Senator Lawton Chiles. They won the election and were re-elected in 1994, in the latter campaign being a close contest against the Republican ticket headed by Jeb Bush.

As Lieutenant Governor, MacKay was given many duties and played a very important role in Chiles' cabinet, including being co-chair of the Florida Commission on Education, Reform and Accountability.[1] He was regarded as the most significant and powerful lieutenant governor in Florida's history.[2]

MacKay was a strong supporter of use of capital punishment, as Chiles was. When he was asked during gubernatorial election about his positions on use of the death penalty and electric chair in Florida, he replied: I support the death penalty and support the use of the electric chair so long as it operates in a reliable fashion.[3] However he suggested Florida should change its mode of execution after Pedro Medina's botched execution, said: The last thing we want to do is generate sympathy for these killers.[4]

In 1998 MacKay sought to succeed term-limited Chiles as Governor, easily winning the Democratic nomination with his full support (Chiles and MacKay were known for their friendly relationship). However, MacKay was soundly defeated by Republican nominee Jeb Bush, who had narrowly lost the 1994 contest.

Governorship[edit]

Despite defeat, MacKay became Chiles' successor when Chiles died unexpectedly on December 12, 1998. MacKay was at this time in Boston with his wife. When they returned to their hotel room, they found a message about Chiles' death, asking MacKay to get on a plane to Atlanta, where they were picked up by a state crew and flown through thick fog to Tallahassee. At 12.30 a.m. the next day 65-year old MacKay was sworn-in as Florida's 42nd Governor at his capitol office for the 23 days remaining in Chiles' term.

"There's no great pleasure in this" said MacKay about taking a job he sought, but got for a short time after his political partner's death. He also stated how sorry he was that he would be unable because of short time and lack of mandate to take care on such issues as education and health care.[2]

Despite keeping a low public profile during his time as Governor, MacKay made more than 56 appointments to various boards to various offices, including two judgeships. He granted six pardons to female prisoners and was involved in such issues as negotiation plan for the Everglades and moderated some other disputes.[5] Perhaps his most visible act as Governor was signing Peggy Quince's nomination to the Florida Supreme Court. Quince was Chiles' last pick for the bench and it fell to MacKay, and then Bush, to sustain her nomination.

MacKay was succeeded by Bush on January 5, 1999.

Diplomacy and later life[edit]

Former Governor MacKay (right) with former Governor and Senator Bob Graham

After his governorship ended, MacKay retired from active politics. He, however, remains publicly active.

He was appointed by President Clinton a special envoy for the Americas, being the second person to hold this position. During his tenure he traveled to 26 countries in the Americas, working on issues such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), hemispheric security, strengthening the rule of law, labor standards, environmental policies and human rights.[6]

He attended a symposium “Day with Florida Governors”, organized by University of Central Florida and Louis Frey institute on March 27, 2006 with Governor Bush and former Governors Claude Roy Kirk, Jr., Reubin Askew, Bob Graham and Bob Martinez (Wayne Mixson, who served for three days after Graham's resignation wasn’t present at the event).[7]

MacKay's memoir about his political career, How Florida Happened, was published by the University Press of Florida in March 2010.

Electoral history[edit]

Florida Senate, 6th district (1974)

Florida Senate, 6th district (1978)

  • Buddy MacKay (D, Inc.) - elected unopposed

Florida United States Senate election, 1980 (Democratic primary)

Florida's 6th congressional district, 1982

  • Buddy MacKay (D) - 85,825 (61.35%)
  • Ed Havill (R) - 54,059 (38.65%)

Florida's 6th congressional district, 1984

  • Buddy MacKay (D, Inc.) - 167,409 (99.30%)
  • Eric Tarnley (write-in) - 1,174 (0.70%)

Florida's 6th congressional district, 1986

  • Buddy MacKay (D, Inc.) - 143,598 (70.16%)
  • Larry Gallagher (R) - 61,069 (29.84%)

Florida United States Senate election, 1988 (Democratic primary)

Florida United States Senate election, 1988 (Democratic runoff)

  • Buddy MacKay - 369,266 (52.00%)
  • Bill Gunter - 340,918 (48.00%)

Florida United States Senate election, 1988

Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor, 1990

  • Buddy MacKay - 746,325 (69.49%)
  • Tom Gustafson - 327,731 (30.51%)

Florida gubernatorial election, 1990

Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor, 1994

  • Buddy MacKay (Inc.) - 603,657 (72.17%)
  • James H. King - 232,757 (27.83%)

Florida gubernatorial election, 1994

  • Lawton Chiles/Buddy MacKay (D, Inc.) - 2,135,008 (50.75%)
  • Jeb Bush/Tom Feeney (R) - 2,071,068 (49.23%)

Florida gubernatorial election, 1998

Source: Our Campaigns - Candidate - Kenneth "Buddy" MacKay, Jr

References[edit]

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bill Young
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 6th congressional district

January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1989
Succeeded by
Cliff Stearns
Political offices
Preceded by
Bobby Brantley
Lieutenant Governor of Florida
January 8, 1991 – December 12, 1998
Succeeded by
Frank Brogan
Preceded by
Lawton Chiles
Governor of Florida
December 12, 1998 – January 5, 1999
Succeeded by
Jeb Bush
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Mack McLarty
Presidential Special Envoy for the Americas
1999–2001
Succeeded by
Otto Reich
Party political offices
Preceded by
Lawton Chiles
Democratic Party nominee for United States Senator from Florida
(class 1)

1988 (lost)
Succeeded by
Hugh Rodham
Preceded by
Frank Mann
Democratic Party nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Florida
1990 (won), 1994 (won)
Succeeded by
Rick Dantzler
Preceded by
Lawton Chiles
Democratic Party nominee for Governor of Florida
1998 (lost)
Succeeded by
Bill McBride