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Laurel M. Lee, Wife of Sen. Tom Lee, Appointed Florida Secretary of State

January 28, 2019 - 2:00pm

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday announced the appointment of Judge Laurel M. Lee as secretary of state, replacing Mike Ertel who stepped down from the position last week after "racially inappropriate" photos of him 14 years ago surfaced. 

Lee is the wife of Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, whom DeSantis once considered as his running mate.

Laurel Lee has extensive judicial and legal experience and had been appointed by former Gov. Rick Scott to serve as a circuit court judge in Florida’s Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County, where she was subsequently unchallenged in her reelection.

“It is clear to me that Judge Lee’s background and experience make her an excellent choice to serve as secretary of state for Florida,” said DeSantis. “She is ready to handle the important elections administration duties and cultural responsibilities accorded to this position with a steady hand and good judgement.”

Lee learned the meaning of public service at a young age. Raised in a military family, Lee’s father is a veteran who served 31 years' active service in the United States Air Force; her mother worked as a public school teacher for 30 years.

“I am humbled to serve the people of Florida as secretary of state, an important position with many responsibilities,” said Lee in a prepared statement. “I thank Governor DeSantis for allowing me the privilege to continue my public service in this new capacity.”

Lee presided in the Circuit Civil Division and the Civil Appellate Division of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit. In addition, she presided over the East County Civil Division and the Domestic Relations Division. She was a member of the Florida Supreme Court’s Steering Committee on Families and Children in the Courts and the Florida Supreme Court’s Commission on Trial Court Performance and Accountability.

Prior to serving as a judge, Lee served as an assistant United States attorney in the Middle District of Florida, where she initiated and prosecuted a wide area of criminal offenses, including white collar and violent crime and the sexual exploitation of children. Before becoming a federal prosecutor, she worked as an assistant federal public defender in the Middle District Court of Florida and as a judicial law clerk to  United States District Court Judge James S. Moody, Jr. She previously practiced law at Carlton, Fields, P.A. in Tampa.

In addition to her extensive legal and judicial experience, Lee has served her community in numerous capacities. Since 2016, she has served on the Pepin Academies Foundation Board, a K-12 charter school. From 2012-2013 she was president of the Board, and in 2017 was presented the “Peregrine Falcon Award” for distinguished service to the school.

Lee also serves on the board of directors for the Emergency Care Help Organization of Brandon and is a member of the Junior League of Tampa. From 2001-2004, she served as a volunteer lawyer for the Bay Area Legal Services Domestic Violence Assistance Project.


I am a life long democratic party member and since 2000 a Green Party member (total of 49 years of voting). She sounds like she will be an honest broker of the right to vote unlike other secretaries of state such as kemp of georgia.

What experience does Laurel Lee have with elections and administration ?

Good choice - excellent knowledge of Florida background, history, and politics.

Well at least she will look alot better in 8lack face than the really poor effort of her predecessor. Just in case any 14 year old social media photos are dug up on her.

Excellent choice, Governor DeSantis

OK,...So THAT'S a "positive" change (even if she IS from the "Tampa Political Shelf")...

Good choice,let's just hope she hasn't been to any Halloween parties in the last 15 years.

I prefer the pre-2003 circumstance in Florida where the six major cabinet positions at that time were ELECTED by the people. It was MUCH more democratic and MUCH more fair and balanced.

The "popular vote" has always proved troublesome, no matter in what circumstance !

Apparently, the "popular vote" is mostly "troublesome" to Republicans! Bush II lost the popular vote but "won" the presidency in 2000 ... and Trump The Chump just did it again in 2016 ... with a record-setting 3 million fewer votes than his opponent! Apparently, Republicans aren't very committed supporters of REAL democracy.

Sure is troublesome. Without the electoral college, all elections would be decided by the takers, and not the providers. You know... the most populated sewers in our nation. Furthermore, we are not now, nor have we ever been a democracy aka "mob rule". Educate yourself.

Why would that matter? Do you know something that would be cause of disqualifying her from the appointment?

Why no mention of who is her husband?

Guess you skipped over the FIRST paragraph "Wondering"; (that old "reading interp" CAN be a 'stumbling block' nowadays..)

Yeah because HER accolades arent deserving enough for your ignorant ass?

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