Former Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners chair grateful for honor

Lesley "Les" Miller, Jr. says he learned life's ground rules from his parents:

  • Do the right thing
  • Never forget where you came from
  • Never look down on anyone

Those simple tenets have guided him through more than five decades of public service. On Feb. 15, the former Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners chair, Florida senator and representative, and Tampa City Council member addressed dozens of admirers who gathered to honor him at the renaming of one of the County's premier parks and recreation centers.

The hour-long ceremony included tributes from many current and former officials who served with Miller. It ended with the unveiling of a handsome block sign with a digital screen in front of the renamed Lesley "Les" Miller, Jr. All People's Community Park & Life Center.

Miller and his family, including his wife, former Tampa City Council Chair Gwen Miller, lingered for a long time beside the new sign. They greeted longtime friends and posed for photographs.

The renaming of the center at 6105 E. Sligh Ave. for Miller is especially appropriate. Throughout his political career the Tampa native has been a strong advocate for the overlooked and disadvantaged, including those with physical disabilities. All People's is for residents of all ages and abilities, but particularly those with disabilities.

Miller represented District 3 on the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners for 10 years, leaving the seat in November 2020. He served as the board's chair three times.

Accolades for Miller's years of commitment to the people of Hillsborough County and Florida flowed at the ceremony, which was held beneath a bright-green canopy in front of the center. Current and former government leaders described him as a natural leader, a steady-handed individual who listens to everyone, and a powerful advocate for civil rights and equality. Several speakers noted that he is the best-dressed person in any room, an observation that drew enthusiastic nods of agreement.

Miller thanked God and his family, specifically mentioning his wife, four children, and six grandchildren. He also thanked his parents and sister. "They're the ones that did the right thing and helped me get where I am today," he said.

"This is just beyond belief," he said of the ceremony and the center's new name. "Thank you so much."

Last Modified: 1/25/2024, 5:24:30 PM

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