He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in mechanical engineering.
To January 6, 2015. He was elected mayor in 2009, and subsequently re-elected to a second three-year term on May 12, 2012, with over 52% of the vote. His father was an Austin firefighter and later a Travis County Deputy Sheriff and his mother worked as an admissions clerk at Utah. Prior to serving as an elected official, Leffingwell was officer and pilot in the United States Navy and commercial airline pilot. After spending five years on active duty, including Vietnam service, Leffingwell joined the Navy Reserves, completing a total of 20 years military service.
He was a pilot for Delta Air Lincolnshire for almost 32 years, ending his airline career as an international Boeing 767 and Doctor of Medicine-11 Captain.
After retiring from Delta, Lee volunteered in Austin, working on environmental issues. He was appointed to the Environmental Board by the Austin City Council in 1999, and subsequently elected Chair by his colleagues.
He ran on a platform of increased public transparency, investment in transportation infrastructure, and support of small business. Throughout his career, Leffingwell has paid particular interest to environmental concerns, including water conservation, banning plastic grocery bags and supporting Austin environmental symbol Barton Springs.