Post # 300, Bob McKnight's Florida Blog
" If Mattox Hair had answered the phone, he would be President of the Senate."
Senate Dean Dempsey Barron, 1979
Senator Mattox Hair of Jacksonville came from a long family of public servants from North Florida. His father preceded him in the Senate from Live Oak in the late 50's. His grandmother was the Mayor of Live Oak in the 20's. His great, great-grandfather was the powerful sheriff of Suwanee County in the late 1800's. Public service was in Mattox Hair's bloodstream.
He had connections with Florida's best-known Universities. He was born in the University of Miami town of Coral Gables and held degrees from both Florida State University (BS) and the University of Florida (J.D). His law practice was in Jacksonville.
Senator Hair served as an Assistant Florida Attorney General in the mid-60s and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1972. He moved up to the Senate two years later. He was the long-time Chairman of the Senate Judiciary-Civil Committee. Senator Hair made history as the Chairman of the Special Committee Investigating the Conduct of one of the sitting Senators, Ralph Poston. Poston was Reprimanded by the Senate and was defeated at his next election.
Senator Hair is perhaps best known as being the Senator who did not answer his phone call from Senate Dean Dempsey Barron. Senator Barron called to offer him the highly sought-after Senate Presidency in 1978. Not finding Hair, Barron said he turned to his close friend W. D. Childers who became Senate President in 1980. Hair became known as the Senate President who didn't answer the phone.