Kenneth Hood MacKay, Jr.

Kenneth Hood "Buddy" MacKay, Jr.

Governor & Mrs. MacKay [picture taken while Lt. Governor], ca.1995

42nd Governor of Florida (December 12, 1998-January 5, 1999)

Personal Background:

  • Born March 22, 1933-Ocala, FL
  • First Lady Anne Selph MacKay, married 1960, four children


  • Graduated University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  • Graduated from University of Florida's Law School, Gainesville, FL; Inducted into Hall of Fame and Florida Blue Key as student

Service to Florida:

Prior to the beginning of his career in public service, Governor MacKay achieved the rank of captain in the United States Air Force from 1955-1958. Like many of his predecessors, he was initially elected to the Florida House of Representatives, in which he served Alachua and Marion counties from 1968-1974. By 1983, he was ready to walk onto the national stage, and was elected to the United States House of Representatives and served three, consecutive terms in Congress. Senator Lawton Chiles chose Buddy MacKay to run with him as his lieutenant governor in 1992, and again in 1996. Among the greatest responsibilities assigned to him during the Chiles-MacKay years was to co-chair the Florida Commission on Education Reform and Accountability. In 1998, Lt. Governor MacKay chose to run for governor himself, but was defeated by Republican candidate Jeb Bush. In the final days of 1998, Governor MacKay served the remaining three weeks of the second term of his colleague and dear friend, Governor Lawton Chiles-who died unexpectedly on December 12, 1998.

Most Notable Contributions as Governor:

Governor MacKay being sworn in, 1998.

One of the most notable aspects of Governor MacKay's tenure was that he extended comfort at a time when both he, as much as the people of Florida, felt grief-stricken and in shock. Once the formalities were extended, Governor MacKay spoke from his heart about his friend, Governor Lawton Chiles: "Sad as this time is, and even as we mourn the death of this great man, this is also a time to celebrate the gentle and lasting ways he changed our state and the lives of its people. The joy he found in living and giving so much of himself to others is a shining example to anyone who truly values family, friends and community."

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