Robert L. F. Sikes

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Robert L. F. Sikes
Robert L F Sikes.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1963 – January 3, 1979
Preceded by Millard F. Caldwell
Succeeded by Earl Dewitt Hutto
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1941 – October 19, 1944
Preceded by Millard F. Caldwell
Succeeded by Vacant
In office
January 3, 1945 – January 3, 1963
Preceded by Vacant
Succeeded by Claude Pepper
Personal details
Born June 3, 1906
Died September 28, 1994(1994-09-28) (aged 88)
Political party Democratic

Robert Lee Fulton Sikes (June 3, 1906 – September 28, 1994) was from 1945 to 1979 a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from Florida.

Born in Isabella, near Sylvester, Georgia, Sikes attended the public schools there and obtained his Bachelor of Science in 1927 from the University of Georgia at Athens, where he we was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity. He received a Master of Science in 1929 from the University of Florida at Gainesville. From 1933 to 1946, he engaged in the publishing business in Crestview in the Florida Panhandle. From 1936 to 1940, he served in the Florida House of Representatives.

Sikes was elected to the Seventy-seventh and Seventy-eighth Congresses in a bitter primary campaign in the spring of 1940,[1][2][3][4] and served from January 3, 1941, until his resignation on October 19, 1944, to become a major in the United States Army during World War II.[5] His local representation was crucial to the development of Eglin Field as a test facility of the United States Army Air Forces, and later, the U.S. Air Force. He served as delegate, Interparliamentary Conference in Warsaw, Poland, in 1959.

Sikes was seated in the Seventy-ninth and the sixteen succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1945 – January 3, 1979).

Sikes was a colleague of Representatives Courtney W. Campbell, a fellow Democrat, and Campbell's victorious opponent, William C. Cramer of St. Petersburg, the first Florida Republican in the House delegation from Florida in decades. Sikes in his memoirs describes the Campbell-Cramer campaign of 1954:

Courtney Campbell hard-working, dedicated, and capable but ineffective in public speaking. It was easy to diagnose the trouble. Courtney couldn't cope with the articulate Bill Cramer on the platform. His speeches were wooden and uninteresting. I attempted to help him and even wrote out some short messages which I thought would be effective in getting his story across to his constituents. I was dismayed when I heard him deliver them. He sounded like a third grader struggling through a reading assignment. Cramer was articulate, a successful lawyer, and he already enjoyed some recognition in public life. In my effort to help Campbell, I said that Cramer, serving in a Democratic Congress, would be like a lost ball in high weeds. Bill never let me forget that statement, although subsequently we became good friends.[6]

Sikes did not seek reelection in 1978 to the Ninety-sixth Congress.

In 1975, Common Cause, a public-affairs lobbying group, accused Sikes of using his office for personal gain. He owned stock in a Pensacola Naval Air Station bank that had been established by government officials at his urging, as well as military contractor Fairchild Industries, which benefited from government contracts awarded by Sikes. He failed to disclose his interest in both these companies in the requisite financial reports. Sikes was reprimanded by a 381-3 vote of the House of Representatives for the financial misconduct on July 26, 1976. Sikes, a strong conservative, believed that "flaming liberals" had conspired against him.[7]

Upon retirement from Congress, Sikes resided in Crestview, Florida, until his death on September 28, 1994.

The Bob Sikes Bridge, which connects Gulf Breeze to Santa Rosa Island, is named after him, as well as the Bob Sikes Airport near Crestview/Okaloosa.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Crestview, Florida, "Monticello Mudslinger Shows Desperation In Losing Campaign", Okaloosa News-Journal, Friday 17 May 1940, Volume 26, Number 20, page 1.
  2. ^ Crestview, Florida, "The Public Wants To Know Where Mr. Mays Stands", Okaloosa News-Journal, Friday 17 May 1940, Volume 26, Number 20, page 1.
  3. ^ Crestview, Florida, "Monticello Mudslinger Smears Countryside Desperat [sic] Propaganda", Okaloosa News-Journal, Friday 24 May 1940, Volume 26, Number 21, page 1.
  4. ^ Crestview, Florida, "Mays Loses Temper And Tries To Stop Bob Sikes' Speech", Okaloosa News-Journal, Friday 24 May 1940, Volume 26, Number 21, page 1.
  5. ^ Florida prosperous in war year
  6. ^ Billy Hathorn, "Cramer v. Kirk: The Florida Republican Schism of 1970," The Florida Historical Quarterly, LXVII, No. 4 (April 1990), p. 406
  7. ^ Bob Sikes, 'He-coon' of politics, dead at 88

External links[edit]