Ellsworth G. Simmons Good Government Award

The Ellsworth G. Simmons Good Government Award honors a current or former government official or civic leader for improving government through leadership and vision. The award is typically presented at a regular Board meeting in April.

About the 2021 recipient

Lesley "Les" Miller, Jr.

Born in Tampa, Miller served in the United States Air Force and was a prominent business owner before pursuing a career in public service. He was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1992 and reelected in 1994, 1996, and 1998. Miller also served in the Florida Senate from 2000 to 2006 and was briefly on the Tampa City Council. In 2010, Miller was elected to serve District 3 on the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners. He was reelected to the seat in 2012 and 2016 before retiring in 2020. Miller served as the Board's chairman for three years, including during his last year as Hillsborough County navigated the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

About Ellsworth G. Simmons

A respected government civic leader, Mr. Simmons was a School Board member who went on to serve 21 years on the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners - 18 of those as chair. Through his leadership and guidance, new institutions - University of South Florida - and new communities - Sun City Center - were created in Hillsborough County. He was a central figure in the construction of Tampa International Airport, the founding of University Community Hospital, and the expansion of the Hillsborough County Health Department.

Selection Process

Each winter, a Good Government Award Committee examines the significant events, leadership opportunities and outstanding achievements of nominees and selects an individual or group. The committee submits its recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners for approval.

The Good Government Award Committee consists of nine members, two members representing the Simmons family and one member chosen by each commissioner.

Award Recipients

  • 2021 - Lesley "Les" Miller, Jr.
  • 2020 - Arthenia Joyner
  • 2019 - Betty Castor
  • 2018 - David Gee 
  • 2017 - Rubin E. Padgett 
  • 2016 - Jan Kaminis Platt
  • 2015 - Former Governor Bob Martinez
  • 2014 - Doug Belden
  • 2013 - Former Mayor Pam Iorio
  • 2012 - Dr. Judy Genshaft
  • 2011 - Dottie Berger MacKinnon
  • 2010 - Pat Frank
  • 2009 - Dr. Earl J. Lennard
  • 2008 - Judge E.J. Salcines
  • 2007 - Cal Henderson
  • 2006 - Louis E. Miller
  • 2005 - H. Lee Moffitt
  • 2004 - H. L. Culbreath
  • 2003 - Former Mayor Dick Greco
  • 2002 - Save Our Bays, Air & Canals
  • 2001 - Former State Sen. Malcom E. Beard
  • 2000 - State Sen. Tom Lee
  • 1999 - James L. Redman
  • 1998 - Nettie Mae Draughon
  • 1997 - Sam M. Gibbons