Mordecai Lee is a native of Milwaukee. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1970. He did his graduate work at Syracuse University (NY), receiving a Master of Public Administration (MPA) in 1972 and PhD in public administration in 1975.
In Washington (DC), between 1972 and 1976, he was a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution and then legislative assistant to a member of Congress.
Returning home, Mordecai was elected in 1976 to the Wisconsin Legislature’s State Assembly from Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood and re-elected in 1978 and 1980. In 1982, he was elected to the State Senate from Milwaukee’s northwest side and re-elected in 1986. He chaired the Senate’s Environmental Resources Committee and co-chaired the Joint Audit Committee. In 1986, Milwaukee Magazine named him one of ‘Wisconsin’s Ten Best Legislators.’
After leaving politics voluntarily, in 1990 Mordecai was appointed executive director of Milwaukee’s Jewish Community Relations Council, a nonprofit advocacy organization promoting social justice and equal rights. He represented Milwaukee’s Jewish population in matters relating to legislation and public affairs as well as serving as its media spokesperson.
In 1997, Mordecai joined the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as an assistant professor of governmental affairs. He was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor in 2002, and in 2006 became a (full) professor. In 2018, he shifted to emeritus status and continues engaging in research and giving public talks. His research interests include public relations in public administration and American governmental history. He has authored eleven books and over 60 articles in scholarly journals.
Mordecai is occasionally asked by the news media to provide nonpartisan analysis of political developments in Wisconsin. Over the years, he has appeared on the NBC Nightly News, National Public Radio, MSNBC, and Fox Cable News. In the print media, he has been quoted by the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Hill, and by the Bloomberg, Reuters, and Associated Press news services. Mordecai has also been an election night analyst on a local TV station (WITI/Fox 6):