About Michael Shumway "Mike" Lee
Michael Shumway "Mike" Lee (born June 4, 1971) is the junior United States Senator from Utah and a member of the Republican Party. He is supported by the Tea Party movement.
Lee has been a constitutional lawyer in Utah and Washington, D.C, in addition to serving as a clerk for then-Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr.. His father, Rex E. Lee, was the founding dean of Brigham Young University's J. Reuben Clark Law School.
At the age of 40, Lee is the youngest current U.S. senator.
Early life and education
Lee was born in Mesa, Arizona on June 4, 1971. His family moved to Provo, Utah one year later when his father, Rex E. Lee, became the founding dean of Brigham Young University's J. Reuben Clark Law School. While Lee spent about half of his childhood years in Utah, he spent the other half in McLean, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C. His father served first as an Assistant U.S. Attorney General (overseeing the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice during the Ford Administration) from 1975 until 1976, and then as the U.S. Solicitor General (charged with representing the United States government before the Supreme Court during the first term of the Reagan Administration) from 1981 until 1985.
Growing up Lee went to school with Senator Strom Thurmond's daughter and lived three doors down from Senator Robert Byrd. He was friends with Harry Reid's son Josh. Senator Reid was the Lees' home teacher, a spiritual leader in the Mormon faith. Lee recalls as a child how Senator Reid once locked him and Josh in their garage as a practical joke.
After graduating from Timpview High School (Provo, Utah) in 1989, Mike attended Brigham Young University as an undergraduate student, receiving a B.S. in Political Science in 1994. He served as the President of BYUSA, a prominent student service organization, during the 1993–1994 school year.
After graduating from BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School in 1997, Lee served as a law clerk to Judge Dee Benson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah. The following year, he clerked for then-Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr., who was serving at that time on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Court in Newark, New Jersey. After finishing his clerkships, Lee joined the Washington, D.C. office of Sidley Austin, where he specialized in appellate and Supreme Court litigation. Several years later, Lee returned to Utah to serve as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Salt Lake City, preparing briefs and arguing cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He served as general counsel to Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. from January 2005 until June 2006, when he returned to Washington to serve a one-year clerkship at the U.S. Supreme Court with Justice Alito.
Lee returned to Utah (and to private practice) in the summer of 2007, joining the Salt Lake office of the Washington, D.C.-based law firm of Howrey LLP. Lee focused on courtroom advocacy and constitutional law.
As an attorney, Lee also represented Class A low-level radioactive waste facility provider EnergySolutions Inc.
Lee ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010. At the Republican State Convention on the first ballot he received 982 votes (28.75%) defeating Tim Bridgewater and incumbent U.S. Senator Bob Bennett. Bridgewater, however won the second and third ballots to win the party endorsement. Both Bridgewater and Lee received enough support to have their names placed on the primary ballot.
In the primary election, held on June 22, 2010, Lee became the Republican nominee by winning 51 percent of the vote against Bridgewater's 49 percent.
The general election was held on November 2, 2010. Lee won the election with 62 percent of the vote to Granato's 33 percent and Bradley's 6 percent.
In February 2011, Lee was one of two Republicans, along with Rand Paul of Kentucky, to vote against extending three key provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act. He would again do the same in May 2011.
Social Security reform
In April of 2011, Lee joined with Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and fellow Senate Tea Party Caucus member Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) to propose a plan that would extend the financial viability of the U.S. Social Security retirement payment system. The three senators' reform proposal (called the Social Security Solvency and Sustainability Act) was notable because it did not propose any tax increases to ensure solvency. Instead, it suggested that the $5.4 trillion difference between what was then funded and what had been promised could be eliminated by increasing the retirement age to 70 by the year 2032, and slightly reducing the benefits paid to upper-income recipients.
Lee married Sharon Burr in 1993. They live in Alpine, Utah and have three children.
Lee is a second cousin to current U.S. Senators Mark Udall of Colorado and Tom Udall of New Mexico, as well as former Senator Gordon H. Smith of Oregon.
Lee has served on the BYU alumni board, the BYU Law School alumni board, and as a long-time member of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies. He is also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and served as a Mormon missionary in the Texas Rio Grande Valley from 1990 to 1992.
Lee earned the Eagle Scout award from Boy Scouts of America in 1989 and was selected to receive the National Eagle Scout Association Outstanding Eagle Scout Award (NOESA) in 2011.