Author pens bio of ‘Walkin’ Lawton’

Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 11:09 AM.

Coggin contacted the Chiles family in the spring of 2006, wrote up a book proposal, secured their authorization to begin as the official biographer, and moved to Tallahassee for a year to complete research. He logged thousands of miles on his odometer, driving through the Panhandle and, to a lesser extent, other regions of Florida. The research phase, in total, occupied three years as he was determined to build on his Kerry campaign experience and make himself an expert on Florida history.

Another year passed before he was able to interest a publisher. However, a publisher was secured and the official release of the publication is scheduled for Nov. 20, with book signings scheduled throughout the state, as well as Washington D.C., and Connecticut. More are being planned.

The authorized bio — “Walkin’ Lawton” — is the first published work for Coggin, a graduate of Yale.

Coggin says “Walkin’ Lawton” has been a labor of love and a source of intellectual and spiritual inspiration for five years — three years of writing and research followed by two years to secure a publisher and complete editing and publication.

“Chiles walked a thousand miles under the Florida summer sun and forged a life-long bond with the land and the people of his state. His ‘Walk’ campaign became a symbol of his career commitment to the public interest. Chiles deserves a strong legacy,” he said.

As a political liberal and life-long Democratic voter, Coggin was certainly drawn to Chiles' policies: universal health insurance, tobacco control, open government, etc. But the inspiration that started the project and stoked it more than any other factor was Chiles' populism. He was a man Coggin characterizes as “marvelous, and a magical politician.”

“’The Walk’ was what set my compass. There are special lessons learned out in Florida's neighborhoods, knocking on doors, hearing the minds of voters. During the Kerry campaign, I realized that a politically active life was for me. Although I never knew Chiles while he lived, the grassroots adventure of summer 2004 forged a personal bond with his legacy that has sustained years of labor,” he said. “I am proud to have the opportunity to share the unique Chiles spirit with others through this biography.”



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