Shelly "Lee" Leffingwell (born October 13, 1939) is an American environmentalist and politician who served as the mayor of Austin, Texas, from June 22, 2009[1] to January 6, 2015.

Lee Leffingwell
57th Mayor of Austin
In office
June 22, 2009 – January 6, 2015
Preceded byWill Wynn
Succeeded bySteve Adler
Personal details
Born (1939-10-13) October 13, 1939 (age 84)
Austin, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseJulie Byers
Residence(s)Austin, Texas
Alma materUniversity of Texas at Austin
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service1961-1966
Battles/warsVietnam War

He was first elected to the Austin City Council in 2005, and won re-election in 2008. He was elected mayor in 2009, and re-elected to a second three-year term on May 12, 2012, with over 52% of the vote.[2]

Early life and education


Leffingwell is a native of Austin, and grew up in the Bouldin neighborhood of South Austin. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in mechanical engineering. His father was an Austin firefighter and later a Travis County Deputy Sheriff and his mother worked as an admissions clerk at UT.

Prior to serving as an elected official, Leffingwell was officer and pilot in the United States Navy and commercial airline pilot. After spending five years on active duty, including Vietnam service, Leffingwell joined the Navy Reserves, completing a total of 20 years military service. He was a pilot for Delta Air Lines for almost 32 years, ending his airline career as an international Boeing 767 and MD-11 Captain.[3]



After retiring from Delta, Lee volunteered in Austin, working on environmental issues. He was appointed to the Environmental Board by the Austin City Council in 1999, and subsequently elected Chair by his colleagues. In 2005, he ran for city council, suffering through the death of his wife just two weeks before election day. In 2008 he won re-election for the Place 1 seat.[4]

Leffingwell became mayor of Austin in the 2009 election when his opponent Brewster McCracken, a distant second place contender in the initial round, voluntarily dropped out of the run-off election. He ran on a platform of increased public transparency, investment in transportation infrastructure, and support of small business. Throughout his career, Leffingwell has paid particular interest to environmental concerns, including water conservation, banning plastic grocery bags and supporting Austin environmental symbol Barton Springs.[5]

He was reelected mayor in 2012. Leffingwell endorsed Steve Adler for Austin Mayor during the 2014 Mayoral election even though colleagues Mike Martinez and Sheryl Cole were running.[6]


  1. ^ "Mayor Lee Leffingwell - Biography". City of Austin. Archived from the original on July 14, 2013. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  2. ^ Largey, Matt (May 12, 2012). "Lee Leffingwell Heading to Re-Election". KUT News. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  3. ^ "Austin City Council Elections: Lee Leffingwell profile". Citizine Mag. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  4. ^ Starbuck Gerson, Emily. "Q&A With Lee Leffingwell, 2009 Mayoral Candidate". Austin. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  5. ^ LaMasters, Byron (April 22, 2005). "Leffingwell's Wife Found Dead". Burnt Orange Report. Archived from the original on May 16, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  6. ^ Coppola, Sarah. "Leffingwell endorses Adler for mayor, slighting longtime colleagues". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved October 26, 2021.
Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of Austin, Texas
June 22, 2009 - January 6, 2015
Succeeded by