Texas Lottery Veteran Recognition: Lee Leffingwell
Lee Leffingwell was elected mayor of Austin in 2008 at the height of a national economic recession, but one of the main goals of his two terms was successful economic development and job creation.
Leffingwell has always said that “quality of life begins with a good job,” and he has recruited companies like Apple and Facebook in Austin, instilling opportunity and hope in the workforce. His ability to problem solve and adapt as a municipal leader is directly linked to the skills he acquired as a Navy pilot.
“You always work in a group, with an emphasis on the ability to handle changing situations,” said Leffingwell. “Collaborative, cooperative and efficient teamwork is key. “
Born and raised in Austin, Leffingwell established an early trajectory of leadership and service.
Her father served his community as a firefighter and also as a sheriff, and her mother worked in admissions at the University of Texas. She placed a great deal of importance on education – Leffingwell already knew how to read before starting school and eventually skipped second grade. As a Boy Scout, he volunteered on Saturday afternoon to park cars on the east side of the Texas Longhorns Football Stadium.
He attended UT and earned an engineering degree, while considering a military career.
Leffingwell eventually pursued a college graduate program that combined an officer training school and flight academics. He completed this four-month initiation with a 14-month flight training evolution and earned his Navy Gold Wings.
He qualified for an assignment on an aircraft carrier, but ended up volunteering with a newly formed C-130 squadron, which operated turbojets from New Jersey. Leffingwell has frequently performed support missions in Vietnam and has won the Vietnam Service Medal with three stars and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
After his active service ended in October 1967, Leffingwell moved to Delta Airlines, where he flew for over 30 years and commanded international service aboard B-767 and MD-11 aircraft. Leffingwell said he was enjoying a “nice retirement” from Delta, but felt the need to run for Austin city council.
“It was an opportunity to have influence. The city government is about as close to the field as it gets. I was interested in the locality and wanted to continue serving,” said Leffingwell.
He served on the board for four years and has been an effective advocate for the environment. Leffingwell wanted to continue in this direction as mayor, but the economic situation required his attention.
“You don’t always choose what you work on. He chooses you,” said Leffingwell, who has seen Austin rise from 14th to 11th in the city’s population nationwide as mayor. “It takes a really good team, because I don’t think people often appreciate the knowledge you need and all of the complexities involved in approaching problems and how to solve them.”
Great things are happening all over Texas with the Texas Lottery. Each year, over $ 1 billion in lottery revenues are donated to good causes like public education and veterans assistance programs.
Starting with the first veteran-dedicated scratch card game in 2009, the Texas Lottery has now contributed over $ 166 million to the Veterans Assistance Fund.
The Texas Lottery celebrates 30 years of winning. Since 1992, the Texas Lottery has generated more than $ 33 billion in revenue for the State of Texas. Through strict adherence to its vision, mission and core values, the Texas Lottery is committed to ensuring the continuity of this support.