A Homegrown Business Leader
Tom Lee has lived and worked in the Brandon area for over forty years. He attended Hillsborough County public schools and graduated from Hillsborough Community College and the University of Tampa. And he’s been a leader at Sabal Homes, his family’s construction business, creating jobs and improving the quality of life for Hillsborough County residents for nearly 25 years.
As the son of a family working in construction, Tom developed a deep connection for Floridians who worked hard with their hands for a living. Hard-working men and women who cared about their families, and about the dignity and quality of life they could ensure for themselves and their children.
That connection to working people stayed with Tom as he became a Vice President in his family’s business. And in 1996, with the support of his friends and family, he ran for the Florida Senate to represent the people of our community in Tallahassee.
A Determined Conservative Reformer
Tom never forgot his roots when he went into public service. He worked hard to protect hard-working taxpayers and the fruits of their labor, voting to cut taxes each of the ten years he served in the Senate. Earning the respect of his colleagues through his determined leadership and straight talking style, he achieved the ultimate honor in 2004, when he was selected as President of the Florida Senate.
For two years, he served as President alongside conservative champions like Governor Jeb Bush and Speaker Allan Bense. And in those two years, they came together as a team to pass strong conservative reforms in a united, no-nonsense fashion.
Working alongside Governor Bush and Speaker Bense cut taxes consistently, including the successful – and permanent – repeal of the “intangibles tax”, a tax that targeted the retirement savings of seniors and Floridians who save up for a good life after working for years.
Tom helped deliver in the fight to help Florida’s small businesses hold on to the jobs they had created by passing historic lawsuit reforms championed by Governor Bush.
Tom had built a reputation as a guy that couldn’t be pushed around by the Tallahassee political class. In 2005, he took on the crisis of bad behavior between lobbyists and legislators head on by passing a total ban on gifts to state lawmakers. And he went further, enacting the strictest ethics disclosure law ever placed on lobbyists in Florida history, requiring any lobbyists to report who their clients were and how much they were paid to lobby the Legislature. Tom’s leadership on ethics reform was praised by The Tampa Tribune and other advocates for a more open and honest government.
Finally, Tom followed a strongly pro-life record from his first day to his last day in the Senate. He sponsored Florida’s first bill to create a “Choose Life” license plate, providing resources to support promote adoptions and other pro-life services. And as President, Tom secured passage of a historic parental notification law that was deemed constitutional when past attempts failed.
A Family Man Looking Out For Florida’s Future
Today Tom Lee lives in Brandon with his wife Laurel Moore Lee, and has two children with a third on the way later this year. He looks at the state of politics today and sees many challenges, and too many politicians more interested in playing games and engaging in shouting matches than solving problems.
Jobs won’t be created with talk and bluster. Budgets don’t get balanced with posturing and egos. It will require leaders who are determined to protect the things citizens care about the most, and are committed to fixing what is broken in government.
Tom’s done it before. And now he’s ready to do it again.