Former U.S. Sen. Paula Hawkins, the first woman elected to a full Senate term without a family political connection, has died. The Florida Republican was 82.
U.S. Rep. John Mica, a close friend, announced that she died Friday. He said she'd had been in poor health recently, suffering a stroke and a fall.When she won office in 1980, Hawkins became the first woman senator elected from the South and the first woman from any state elected to a full Senate term who was not the wife or daughter of a politician.
During her single term, she 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.
-- Adam C. Smith