Paula Hawkins, former senator from Florida, is dead at 82

Paula Hawkins, the Republican housewife from Florida who was the first woman elected to a full Senate term without a family political connection, died Friday.

AP reported she was 82 and had been in poor health recently, having suffered a stroke and a fall. Orlando Sentinel columnist Scot Maxwell wrote that he continued to hear regularly from her on political issues as recently as last month.

Said the AP: During her single six-year term in the U.S. Senate, the Republican positioned herself as a media-savvy champion of children and working mothers and an enemy of drug dealers. She lost her bid for a second term in 1986 to then-Gov. Bob Graham in a race that pitted two of Florida's most popular politicians.

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