Cecil Farris Bryant (July 26 1914–March 1 2002) was the thirty-fourth governor of Florida. He also served on the United States National Security Council and in the Office of Emergency Planning during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Born in Marion County, Florida, he attended Ocala High School before going on to Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia from 1931 to 1932. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Florida with a business degree, and at Harvard University, where he earned a law degree in 1938. After completing his education, he went to work in the office of the state comptroller where he met his future wife, Julia Burnett.
In 1942, he ran for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives and won. He resigned the seat to join the armed services during World War II, and served in the United States Navy as a gunnery and antisubmarine officer in the North Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Pacific. In 1946 he was again elected to his seat, and served five consecutive terms until 1956, serving as speaker in 1953.
In 1960, he was elected governor and took the oath of office on January 3, 1961. Like other Florida politicians at the time, Bryant was a segregationist. His administration continued the focus on education of his predecessor Governor T. LeRoy Collins. He helped in obtaining funds for twenty-eight junior colleges and additional state universities. He worked to get interstate and state highways built in Florida. He also worked to purchase public lands for future use by the state, saying that it was important to do it now, "before the need arose or before it became critical". He was also a major proponent of the Cross Florida Barge Canal. He left office on January 5, 1965.
After his term, he was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to serve on the United States National Security Council and in the White House Office of Emergency Planning. In 1970 he ran for the U.S. Senate, but was defeated during the in Democratic primary runoff by relatively little know State Senator Lawton Chiles, who went to win the Senate seat (served 1971-1989), and later himself became Governor (1991-1998). Upon his defeat, he returned to practice law in Jacksonville, Florida, where he lived until his death in 2002. In 1972 Bryant joined John B. Connally of Texas in the "Democrats for Nixon" organization and helped to secure Florida for the Republican presidential ticket that year.