William Haydon Burns

William Haydon Burns

35th Governor of Florida (1965-1967)

Personal Background:

Governor Burns, ca.1965

  • Born March 17, 1912- Chicago, IL
  • Died November 22, 1987- Jacksonville, FL
  • First Lady Mildred Carlyon Burns, married 1934, two children


  • Attended Babson College, Wellesley, MA

Service to Florida:

An accomplished pilot, Burns initially served in World War II as an aeronautical salvage specialist with the rank of lieutenant in the Office of the Secretary of the Unites States Navy. Elected Mayor of Jacksonville in 1949, a post which he held for fifteen consecutive years, Haydon Burns won the seat during his first bid for public office. Elected governor 1964 for a two-year "short term" rather than a four-year term due to a change which came about in order that gubernatorial elections in Florida would not coincide with presidential election years.

Most Notable Contributions as Governor:

Governor & Mrs. Burns, ca.1966

Governor Burns utilized his short tenure to allocate massive funding increases for the state park and educational systems of Florida. In addition, he established strong trade ties with South America, implemented significant revisions of the Florida Constitution, and advocated for tax reform. But perhaps his single most far-reaching accomplishment was to convince the executives of the Walt Disney Corporation to expand their second theme-park in central Florida.

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