City of Jacksonville

E. Denise Lee

Framed photo of Council Member Denise Lee, District 89/28/1982-6/30/1983 - District 11
7/1/1983-6/30/1987 - District 8
7/1/1987-6/30/1991 - District 8
7/1/1991-6/30/1995 - District 8
7/1/1995-6/30/1999 - District 8
7/1/2007-6/30/2011 - District 8
7/1/2011-6/30/2015 - District 8

E. Denise Lee's family roots run deep in the community she has represented for more than 20 years on the Jacksonville City Council, in the Florida House of Representatives and as an appointed member of the Jacksonville Civil Service Board.

Lee's father, the late John Henry Lee, grew up in Jacksonville, served in World War II and was a 30-year employee of Seaboard Coastline Rail System. Her mother, the former Leanora Daniels, was a public school teacher who became very involved in supporting the local teachers union's efforts. While attending Florida A;M University, Denise worked on and managed political campaigns that helped to elect some of Northeast Florida's most prominent Democrats. Indeed, the list of those whose campaigns she's helped over the years includes presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Gov. Lawton Chiles, Sen. Bob Graham, Rep. Corrine Brown, Mayor Jake Godbold and Florida's first African American state senator Arnette Girardeau among many others.

After years of campaign management experience, Denise got her first chance to serve in public office at the age of 30 when, in 1982, she was appointed to fill the vacant District seat on the Jacksonville City Council. The seat was left open when her longtime friend, the legendary Jacksonville City Councilwoman Sallye Mathis, passed away. Council members selected Denise to try and fill Mathis' big shoes, and she was subsequently re-elected by her district for 17 years before leaving her seat in 1999 to run successfully for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives. After serving in the Florida Legislature, Denise was re-elected to the City Council in 2007.

While serving on the Jacksonville City Council, Denise has earned a reputation of taking care of people and getting things done. Denise's effective service on the City Council, during her first terms, brought more than $37 million worth of public works, recreation and housing projects for District 8 residents. She ensured that neighborhoods were improved and new parks were built, while infrastructure, roads and drainage were enhanced. Her efforts helped make possible major new projects like Gateway Shopping Center, The PGA's First Tee Golf Course at Brentwood, the renovated Ritz Theatre and the Bradham/Brooks Regional Library among many, many others.

In the Florida Legislature, Rep. Lee fought for education, children and seniors. She helped secure important resources for the University of North Florida, for Jacksonville University as well as for Edward Waters College, Florida A;M University and Bethune-Cookman College. She fought for healthcare reform and to lower the cost of healthcare, especially for lower income and fixed-income residents.

Denise, a mother of one and now a grandmother, has always been known for her passion, her effectiveness and her love for the people in her home community. One of her many public service mentors, former Mayor Jake Godbold said, 'I have had no stronger partner over the last 25 years than E. Denise Lee to improve the quality of life for all people in Jacksonville. She is unafraid and unowned. The only people who matter to Denise are the people who elected her...the people she serves.'