Richard Stone (politician)

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Person.png Richard Stone (politician)  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(politician, diplomat)
BornRichard Bernard Stone
Alma materHarvard University, Columbia Law School
SpouseMarlene Lois Stone
Involved in the dirty wars in Central-America in the 1980s

Employment.png United States Ambassador to Denmark

In office
November 21, 1991 - October 14, 1993

Employment.png United States Senator from Florida

In office
January 1, 1975 - December 31, 1980

Employment.png Secretary of State of Florida

In office
January 5, 1971 - July 8, 1974

Richard Bernard Stone (September 22, 1928 – July 28, 2019) was an American politician who was a Democratic United States Senator from Florida from 1975 to 1980 and later served as Ambassador at Large to Central America and Ambassador to Denmark.

Early life and career

Stone was born in New York City, the son of Lily (Abbey) and Alfred Stone, who was born in Belgium.[1] His family was Jewish.[2] He moved to Florida and attended public schools in Dade County. Stone graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University in 1949 and received a Bachelor of Laws from Columbia Law School in 1954.


In the United States Senate elections, 1974, Stone narrowly defeated Eckerd in a race that saw the American Party candidate, John Grady, claim nearly 16% of the vote. Stone was the second Jewish U.S. Senator from Florida (after David Levy Yulee) and the first since the U.S. Civil War.[3][4]

During Stone's term in the U.S. Senate, he was a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and was a strong advocate for the Panama Canal Torrijos–Carter Treaties.[5] He also voted for neutron bomb funding, deregulation of natural gas, and public funding of congressional campaigns. He led efforts to secure congressional military subsidies for Israel and was also an important advisor during the 1978 Camp David Peace Treaty.[6] In addition to the Foreign Relations Committee, Stone served on the Agriculture Committee.

At the onset of his term, Stone was one of three Jewish members of the U.S. Senate along with Jacob Javits and Abraham Ribicoff.[7]

Reelection bid

With a reputation for changing his mind and with the AFL-CIO actively campaigning against him, Stone was deemed vulnerable in his reelection bid. Six Democrats entered the race for Stone's seat including his 1974 runoff opponent Bill Gunter who was Florida State Treasurer/Insurance Commissioner in 1980. As was the case in 1974, Stone and Gunter were forced into a runoff but, unlike 1974, Gunter won the nomination in 1980. (Gunter was defeated by Paula Hawkins in the general election). Stone resigned three days early on December 31, 1980.


Senator Stone was included on President-elect Ronald Reagan's transition team the day after the 1980 elections.[8] From 1981 to 1982, he was senior resident partner at the law firm of Proskauer, Rose, Goetz & Mendelsohn in Washington, D.C. During that time, the Spanish-speaking Stone[9] worked as a paid lobbyist for the right-wing Guatemalan government of Fernando Romeo Lucas García.[10] On January 19, 1982, Stone was named as Vice Chairman of the President's Commission for Radio Broadcasting to Cuba.[11] He was also vice chairman of the board of Capital Bank of Washington.[12] In February 1983, Stone served in the Department of State as Special Representative of the President for Public Diplomacy in Central America.

On April 28, 1983, President Reagan announced Stone's appointment as Ambassador at Large and Special Envoy to Central America. Despite concerns over his recent ties with the oppressive right-wing Guatemalan government and how he would be perceived by the leftist FMLN of El Salvador, Stone was confirmed and commenced the position on May 26.[13][14][15] Stone was once a paid lobbyist for the conservative Guatemalan government of Fernando Romeo Lucas Garcia.[16] He resigned effective March 1, 1984, allegedly after experiencing personality conflicts with Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, Langhorne A. Motley.[17][18][19] Stone continued working with Capital Bank and, in 1989, was named chief operating officer.[20] On November 9, 1991, he was nominated by President George H. W. Bush to be U.S. Ambassador to Denmark. The nomination was successful and Stone served from November 21, 1991 to October 14, 1993.[21]

On December 28, 1995, Stone was appointed voting trustee for the discount drug store business, Dart Drug, which was owned by Herbert Haft and embroiled in a widely publicized family dispute.[22] On September 24, 1997, Haft and Stone voted to appoint Stone as acting chief executive officer and, in February 1998, Stone was named chief executive officer. By mid-1998, Dart Group was sold to Richfood.[23]


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  15. Ambassadors at Large from 1949 to 2005 at United States Department of State. Retrieved on 2007-02-09.