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Secretary of the Senate

State House: Room 709, State House
11 South Union Street
Montgomery, Alabama 36130-4600
(334) 242-7077


McDowell Lee was elected Secretary of the Senate July 16, 1963, and held this position until his retirement on February 1, 2011, making him the longest-serving subordinate Officer of any legislative body in American history, including all those who have served every state legislature, as well as the United States Congress.

He was born at Clayton on February 12, 1925, attended Auburn University, where he served in the Student Senate and as a freshman manager of the 1942 football team. He graduated from Troy State University after World War II, having departed from Auburn in early 1943 to join the armed forces.

Mr. Lee served in the United States Navy in World War II, seeing action in both the European and Pacific Theaters. He was Honorably discharged in 1946.

After the war, Mr Lee was a special agent of the FBI, served one term as mayor of Clio, and served in the Alabama House of Representatives from 1954 to 1962, becoming the third generation of his family to serve in the Alabama Legislature. In addition, his uncle, Charles S. McDowell, served as Lieutenant Governor of Alabama, 1923-1927. The Alabama Press Association voted Mr. Lee "Best Freshman" in 1955, and "Best Debater" in 1959. Mr. Lee also served as National Committeeman and Vice-President of the Young Democrats of America in the 1950's.

During his tenure in the House, Mr. Lee served on the Committees on Ways & Means and Agriculture, and was an advocate of agricultural interests. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Mr. Lee to the National Agricultural Advisory Committee of the United States Department of Agriculture.

Mr Lee served on the Troy State University Board of Trustees, from its creation in 1967, until 1979. The Troy aquatics facility, the "Charles McDowell Lee Natatorium", is named for him.

He is a Presbyterian, the first Treasurer and a past President of the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries, and a past Vice President of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Mr. Lee has five children, and is married to the former Hazel Johnston of Auburn.


Alabama State Senate  |  Alabama State House
11 South Union Street  |  Montgomery, AL 36130
General Information: (334) 242-7800