Author pens bio of ‘Walkin’ Lawton’

Chiles bio

The book and its author.

Special to The Sun
Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 11:09 AM.

John Coggin first learned of the political legend of former Florida Governor and U.S. Sen. Lawton Chiles in the summer of 2004 when he joined the League of Conservation Voters' efforts in Orlando to elect John Kerry as president.

The Maryland resident learned of Chiles’ famous Walk Across Florida and heard about his old boots that are now framed and in the State Capitol.

During that summer and fall of 2004, Coggin knocked on more than 6,000 doors for Kerry during Florida’s storms and heat, and talked to voters. He calls it "hurricane summer" because there were so many big storms crossing Florida.

Long after the tears of the Kerry loss, the Chiles story stuck with Coggin.

“It had such a natural drama to it. And I felt a kinship with Chiles after working so hard in the Florida heat to talk to voters and earning calluses on my feet and soreness in my calves. I wondered always what he felt as he traversed miles of highway alone with his ambition and his boots,” he said.

After college, Coggin discovered there was no book or biography available on Chiles.

“I believed it was an injustice that this politician who so earnestly placed himself in front of and among all voters high and low on the economic ladder, from the top of the state to the bottom, had been ignored by history,” he said.



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