Thursday, January 17, 2013

Announcement of the Death of Sen. Hodges

From the Flagler Tribune, January 18, 1940:
William C. Hodges, dean of the Florida State Senate, died at his home in Tallahassee Wednesday morning fol­lowing a heart attack. He was 64 years of age.

Senator Hodges had planned to be a candidate for Governor in the coming elections, but his doctors had advised against it, and he had prepared an announcement which was to have been published today, that he would not be in the race.

His announcement included this paragraph:
"Acting on the mature, careful and earnest advice of my physicians, I cannot now enter the race for governor. It goes without saying that this conclusion is reached by me with regret, because naturally one who has long been in the public service and interested in the state's welfare has an ambition to round out a long career as the state's chief executive."
He represented Leon County in the state senate for 18 years. He was the senate's president in 1935.

Hodges was familiarly known as "Homestead Bill" for his work in behalf of the homestead tax exemption amendment to the constitution which voters ratified in 1934. The amendment provided governmental operating tax exemption for homesteads up to $5,000 valuation.

In the senate, Hodges was a master of wit and sarcasm. His stooped shoulders and flowing gray hair made him a colorful figure in debate. When he filibustered against legislation he opposed, galleries filled to capacity because Hodges made a show of the occasion:

Funeral services will be conducted at eleven o'clock Friday morning in Tallahassee and burial will be in the Oakland Cemetery there.

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