Meet Matthew Leger — one of the “30 under 30″ rising stars in Florida politics

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Matthew Leger, 28, entered politics because “it doesn’t feel like a job.” Loving what he does for the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches, Matthew enjoys helping people on a daily basis in addition to working with legislators and regulators to maintain a healthy business environment for the association and its clients.

Matthew worked on a presidential campaign in Manchester, New Hampshire, leading up to the 2008 primary, and was campaign manager for a successful state senate race that spanned five counties in South Florida.  He is active in municipal and issue campaigns, and admires political workers who operate behind the scenes, at all hours, making sure their candidate has the tools to succeed.

Matthew looks for structure when starting a project, and if there is none, he creates it. “Especially in political campaigns, structure and organization are essential,” he writes.

If Matthew weren’t working in politics, he would pursue a doctorate and become a professor of history.  But not so fast.  He has no intent to leave Palm Beach County, and a decade from now Matthew will be continuing to shape legislation and policy to make this region one of the best places to live.

Matthew has learned, “Don’t put too much stock in social media. Have healthy discussions and debates with friends, colleagues and fellow politicos.” That said, here is the latest tweet from @Leger711: “A flock of ravens flies under his command. Will we finally meet Coldhands? #GoT

Here’s Matthew in his own words:

I am (28)

I live in (West Palm Beach, FL) … Am from (Boston, MA) …. I went to (Boston College).  I hope to visit (Home to See Family) soon enough.

I entered politics because:  Wine and cheese at campaign/political events.  Why else do you enter politics? In all seriousness, it doesn’t feel like a job.  I love what I do and I enjoy the people I get to work with on a daily basis.  REALTORS® genuinely love what they do – they love putting families in homes.  I enjoy working with the legislators and regulators in Palm Beach County to help pass laws that maintain a healthy business environment for RAPB’s members and for their clients, but at the same time, there are also times I have to work to defeat laws that increase the cost of housing and inhibit the growth of the real estate industry. 

One principle I always put above politics is:  Take time for yourself – no one is going to do it for you. 

Person or people who gave me my first shot:  Not so much my first shot, but a person who is responsible for me relocating to Palm Beach County is current North Palm Beach Councilman, Doug Bush.  Doug and I went to Boston College together and have been close friends since.  He and his family were very instrumental in my move down to Palm Beach County and for that I will be forever grateful. 

I’ve already worked for/on: I’ve worked on a presidential campaign up in Manchester, NH leading up to the 2008 primary.  I was Campaign Manager for a successful state senate campaign that stretched across 5 counties in South Florida. On the local level, I’ve been a part of many successful municipal and issue campaigns as a political advisor representing RAPB. 

When I begin a project or first work on a campaign, I look for:  Structure.   If there is none, create it.  Especially in political campaigns, structure and organization are essential for success

I’ve been blessed to have these people as my mentors:  My predecessor, Dionna Hall.  She is currently the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at RAPB, but was the Government Affairs Director when she interviewed me almost (3) years ago.  She’s a smart, confident woman who taught me the ins and outs of Palm Beach County politics. 

The people I most admire in politics are:  Volunteers, Staff Aides, Legislative Assistants, etc… These people work behind the scenes, at all hours, making sure their candidate/legislator have the tools to succeed.   

One lesson I’ve already learned is:  Don’t put too much stock in social media.  Have healthy discussions and debates with friends, colleagues and fellow politicos.  You’ll learn a person’s true character through face to face, open dialogue.

If I wasn’t working in politics, I’d be working in (which field):  I was a History major at Boston College.  If I didn’t pursue politics, I think I’d go back to school for my doctorate and become a professor.

In ten years, you’ll read about me:  I’ve only been in Palm Beach County for 6 years, give me another decade, and I’ll continue to work hard to shape legislation and policy that will make Palm Beach County one of the best places to live. 

You can connect with me via (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

Facebook: Matthew Leger

Twitter: @Leger711

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/matthew-leger/b/96b/880

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.