Florida has lost a friend. Congressman Gibbons represented the Tampa area in Congress from 1963 to 1997.
Sam Gibbons, a World War II hero who in 44 years as a legislator left a lasting imprint on social programs, world trade, health care and a raft of improvements for the Tampa Bay area, died early Wednesday, his family said.
He was 92.
Mr. Gibbons was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1952, the Florida Senate in 1958 and to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1962. Before his retirement from Congress, he served as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Through five decades, Mr. Gibbons never lost an election.
His sweeping resume includes expanding Tampa's physical boundaries; sponsoring the bill that started the University of South Florida; helping to start the Southwest Florida Water Management District; and lining up votes for the country's first Head Start program.