JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Tillie Fowler, who became prominent on defense issues during her four terms in Congress, died March 2, two days after suffering a brain hemorrhage. She was 62.
Mrs. Fowler, who was known as the “Steel Magnolia” for her quiet tenacity in Congress, died at a hospital, said Tom Alexander, a family spokesman.
Gov. Jeb Bush called Mrs. Fowler “a great Floridian and committed public servant. Congresswoman Fowler was a great leader and was dedicated to making the lives of Floridians better. She will be missed.”
Mrs. Fowler was elected to the House of Representatives in 1992, campaigning on an “eight is enough” term-limits pledge. She declined to seek re-election in 2000, though at the time she was vice chairman of the House Republican Conference, placing her fifth in the Republican hierarchy.
After leaving Congress in January 2001, she was mentioned as a secretary of the Navy in the Bush administration, but instead joined the national law firm of Holland & Knight.
Since 2003, Mrs. Fowler had been chairman of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, which advises Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. She was also the chairwoman of the committee that investigated reputed sexual assaults at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Mrs. Fowler, who represented the city of Jacksonville as a lobbyist on military base realignment and closures in 2003 and 2004, had been scheduled to attend a meeting Monday to discuss the upcoming round of base closings.