Sen. Bob Johnson, friend of the environment, arts and New College of Florida

Former State Senator had a humble start to life. He was one of 9 kids who grew up dirt poor inOhio. His father passed away, his mother’s new husband moved them to Florida, and then she passed away when Bob was still a teenager.
Without graduating from high school, he was able to get in and graduate from Florida State University, and then graduate law school at University of Florida. After that he was elected over and over again to the state legislature, serving a total of 16 years.
It was during this time, he established himself as a friend of the environment.
“It’s not very fashionable for politicians nowadays but he stood up for nature and for good growth management and the people,” said Dan Lobeck, the founder of the group “Control Growth Now.”
Sarasota County agreed, naming a 7-acre park in his honor in Venice. During the ceremony last October, Johnson said, “The park is beautiful and I’m very honored and humbled they’d consider putting my name on this.”
And that wasn’t all. New College of Florida put his name a plaque on a statue. Johnson was chair of the campus board of trustees twice. The school’s former president says Johnson did nothing less than save New College.
“Because when the private New College ran out of money, Bob jumped in and said, ‘Let’s save the campus and make it part of the public system,'” explained Mike Michalson.