TAMPA, FL – The Hillsborough County Commission honored Shumaker Advisors Principal and Former Chair of the Hillsborough County Commission Lesley (Les) Miller, Jr. with the silver anniversary edition of the Ellsworth G. Simmons Good Government Award, which is presented annually to someone who played a significant role in improving government through leadership and vision.
Giving back to his community, state, and country for more than 50 years, Les is committed to public service. A native of Tampa, Les concluded a 10-year career on the Hillsborough County Commission in November, where he served as a member of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, representing the Third District from November 2010 to November 2020, and served as the Chairman for three terms, striving to foster a better place for all citizens to live, work, and play.
“I knew I would never be a rich person to give back as a philanthropist,” Les said. “I feel the best way to give back is to be an elected official to help those that need it the most. And, I thank those that allowed me to do that.”
Extensive public service on the County Commission does not begin Les’ career. He acted as a member of the Florida Senate, 18th District from 2000 to 2006. During his tenure in the Senate, he served in various capacities, including Democratic Leader (Minority Leader), Democratic Leader Pro Tempore, Democratic Whip, Vice Chair of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, and was the co-author of $70 billion and $73 billion budgets, respectively.
Prior to being elected to the Senate, Les was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1992. He served as Democratic Leader (Minority Leader) from 1998 to 2000. Les is the first person in the State of Florida’s history to serve as Democratic Leader in both the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate. During his career in both the Florida Senate and the Florida House of Representatives, he established a reputation for bipartisan, innovative compromise, and cooperation to improve the lives of his constituency, especially as legislation affects education, the elderly, and health initiatives. He also served on the Tampa City Council in 1991.
Les was born and raised in Hillsborough County where he attended public schools and graduated from Middleton High School. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from The University of South Florida in 1978 where he graduated with distinction, and studied additionally toward the Master of Public Administration. Les made history as the first student to serve on the former Board of Regents for the State of Florida from 1977 to 1979. His sense of challenging work, compassion, and fair play was publicly recognized when Florida A&M University bestowed upon him an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Humane Letters in 2005.
Les served his country honorably in the United States Air Force from 1970 to 1974. Formerly, he was the Interim Associate Vice President and Dean for Students at The University of South Florida.