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George S. LeMieux (born May 21, 1969) is currently the junior United States Senator from Floridamarker. He was Chairman of the Florida-based law firm of Gunster Yoakley & Stewart, P.A. and served as Chief of Staff to Governor Charlie Crist, was former Deputy Florida Attorney General, and is credited with spearheading Crist's successful campaign for Governor. On August 28, 2009, Governor Crist announced that he would appoint LeMieux as senator, to replace Senator Mel Martinez, who weeks earlier announced he would resign as soon as Crist announced his successor. At the age of , LeMieux is the youngest member of the U.S. Senate.

Early life and education

LeMieux was born in Fort Lauderdale, Floridamarker and grew up in Coral Springs, Floridamarker, to George and Karen LeMieux, a building contractor and secretary to the company. After attending Coral Springs High School graduating in 1987, he went to Emory Universitymarker where he majored in political science and graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in 1991. He was Senior Orator that year. He went on to earn his J.D. cum laude from Georgetown University Law Centermarker in 1994. He interned for Congressman E. Clay Shaw, Jr. and U.S. Senator Connie Mack III. In 1994, he joined the law firm of Gunster Yoakley & Stewart P.A. in its Fort Lauderdalemarker office. LeMieux is an AV-rated attorney, and is board certified in business litigation. He continued his practice there for eight years, at which time he left to work in Tallahassee with the Republican Party.

Career

Public service career

LeMieux worked closely with Charlie Crist and is credited with being the “maestro” of Crist's campaign for Governor. His friendship with Crist began in the 1990’s when Crist was a state senator from St. Petersburg and LeMieux was working to expand the role of the Republican Party in Broward County, which is strongly Democratic.

In 1998, LeMieux ran for the state House, pitted against four-term incumbent Democrat Tracy Stafford. According to the St. Petersburg Times, during the campaign, he went to more than 10,000 doors in a district drawn to protect a Democrat. He campaigned for better health insurance, leaner bureaucracy and smaller class sizes. "I remember sitting in classrooms in Broward County with 40 kids in them", the St. Petersburg Times quoted him as saying. He also backed a $100 limit on the amount of money out-of-state companies could give to Floridamarker candidates as a way of allowing working people to have a bigger impact in the system. Ultimately, he lost the race, but became head of the Republican Party in Broward County.

In 2002, Crist, then attorney general, asked LeMieux to be his chief of staff in the Attorney General’s office, and LeMieux left the firm of Gunster Yoakley to take the position. In 2006 LeMieux was chief of staff for Crist’s campaign for governor, and the Republican team defeated rival Tom Gallagher by 32 points to win the GOP nomination. After winning the nomination, LeMieux, as campaign chief of staff, hired staff members and shaped Crist's message and made key strategic moves. He is credited with demanding lecterns for the second TV debate with Democratic opponent Jim Davis instead of a conference table, and also for deciding that Crist would not accompany President Bush on the day before the election. When asked why Crist was not attending the President's visit to Florida, Karl Rove responded "just ask George LeMieux". He also advised Crist regarding the selection of Jeff Kottkamp as a running mate. Crist defeated Davis, and political writers and Crist himself have called LeMieux the “maestro” of the campaign. While in public service, LeMieux assembled a long list of successes, including managing more than 400 lawyers as Deputy Attorney General, leading the compact negotiations with the Seminole Tribe of Florida as Chief of Staff to the Governor, and overseeing all aspects of the Executive Office of the Governor including the Governor’s legislative agenda, policy initiatives and the management of the agencies that report to the Governor. In 2004 he argued on behalf of the State of Florida in the United States Supreme Courtmarker in the case of Florida v. Nixon, where he obtained a unanimous reversal of a decision of the Supreme Court of Florida. Shortly before leaving public office, he took on the role as Governor Crist’s liaison to the Council of 100, a non-partisan group of high-powered business leaders, noting that Crist wanted him to work with the council to find ways of helping businesses.

Returning to the private sector

In January 2008, LeMieux returned to the law firm of Gunster Yoakley, residing in both its Fort Lauderdale office and its newer Tallahasseemarker office. Within three months of rejoining, LeMieux was named Chairman of the firm.

The LeMieux Report

In February 2008, LeMieux launched The LeMieux Report, an electronic newsletter in text form and video courtesy of YouTube, offering analysis and commentary on key legal, business and political issues that impact the state’s economy and business community. The report is sent out to a list of corporate movers and shakers on a weekly basis and is also posted at [719008].
"Our goal is to examine the hottest issues of the week that impact Florida business ...
[A]s the Governor's Chief of Staff I briefed him every day on the most important issues facing Florida.
Now I can share that analysis with Florida's leaders."
LeMieux said he will be able to help readers navigate through important and sometimes complex issues, offering clarity and context. He added "Business executives are busy people. They don’t have the time to sift through all of the information that inundates today's professional to determine what is most important to their interests. The LeMieux Report boils it down and gives them the information they need in a format that’s easy to digest."

He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1994 and was board certified in business litigation in 2004. Other court admissions include the United States Supreme Court, United States District Court - Southern District of Florida, Middle District of Florida, Northern District of Florida; the United States Court of Appeals-Eleventh and Federal Circuits.

Affiliations

Among his civic and charitable commitments, LeMieux was the Chairman of the Broward County Republican Party, Chairman of the Jeb Bush Re-election campaign, Republican nominee for the Florida House of Representatives – District 92, and served on the City of Fort Lauderdalemarker Beach Redevelopment Advisory Board. He has been a director for Goodwill of Broward County, as well as Riverwalk, Inc., and a trustee for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce. In 2002 he was named one of the 50 Most Powerful People in Broward County by Gold Coast Magazine, and 20 People on the Fast Track by Fast Track Magazine. LeMieux received the prestigious "Pollie" award from the American Association of Political Consultants as the nation's "MVP" in a Republican campaign for 2006. LeMieux served as the Executive Director of the Crist/Kottkamp transition team, and went to lead the Executive Office of the Governor as the Governor's Chief of Staff in 2007.

Senate Career

Committee assignments

LeMieux has been assigned to the following committees of the United States Senate:

Family

George LeMieux is a Roman Catholic. He married Meike Detassis on October 28, 2000; they have three sons.

References



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