Victoria Sigler, Florida, 1995

Mark Leban and Victoria Sigler

In Florida, as in many states, the typical process for someone to become a judge is that the Governor appoints them, then they run for office to retain their posts. Governor Jeb Bush initially appointed Victoria Sigler to her Circuit Court position and later elevated Mark Leban to his.

Victoria Sigler

Born April 21, 1951

Circuit Court Judge

Miami, Florida

1.5 million constituents

Career Overview

Elected to Dade County Court January 1995

Re-elected 1998

Appointed to Circuit Court February 2000

Elected 2002

 

 

About Victoria Sigler for Out and Elected in the USA


In Dade County, the scene of the Anita Bryant anti-gay campaign of the 1970’s, Sigler became the first “out” political figure to win office in Florida with her campaign for County Court Judge in 1994. In his book Trailblazers, Ken Yeager writes, “To succeed in an environment such as that of Dade County, Florida takes someone with unique characteristics and skills: a strong sense of self, good sense of humor, feisty enough to challenge the status quo while not creating enemies needlessly, and able to earn the respect of others. This describes Victoria Sigler and explains why she had flourished in South Florida since moving there in 1974.”

As a County Court Judge, Sigler was first assigned as the only judge in the Hialeah courthouse, a predominantly Hispanic blue collar community, where she handled criminal misdemeanors, traffic tickets, small claims suits, divorces and tenant/ landlord disputes. Noticing the large number of women and children she was petitioned to evict, the judge developed a network of emergency housing facilities to provide families losing their homes with information and housing assistance.

In December of 1999, Judge Sigler’s name was submitted to Governor Jeb Bush, along with five other judges and lawyers, for consideration for a Circuit Court Judge position. In early January, Sigler received a call from her partner telling her that the governor had called their house and wanted to speak to her. She returned the governor’s call to find out that he had chosen her for the highest trial court job. “I was pleasantly surprised that this Republican governor was willing to honor his commitment to respect competency and diversity and give me a chance to do the job.”