Meet Bob

Despite a distinquished judicial career, Bob’s beginnings were humble by any standards. Raised in poverty by a single mother, Bob is the youngest of 10 children. Abandoned before birth by his father, he was born in a bedroom of a tiny home that had no running water, plumbing, electricity, or gas.  Despite the poverty in which he grew up,  Bob became the first in his family to graduate from college.
From serving in the Vietnam War as a young man, to advocating for indigent clients in his law practice, to fighting for better futures for children and families as a circuit court judge, Bob’s life has been one of accomplishment, authentic service, and proven leadership. It’s these values he brings as candidate for the Florida State Senate.
Bob and his wife of 30 years, Chelle (pronounced Shelly- it’s a family thing) are long-time Winter Haven residents and have called the 22nd district home for over 3 decades.

Bob joined the Navy in 1967 and was promoted to full Lieutenant in 1970. Bob was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal for meritorious service.

military service

Lieutenant, Supply Corps, U.S. Navy 1967-72

Navy Achievement Medal with Combat “V” for service in Vietnam 1968-69.

Judge Robert “Bob” Doyel retired in 2010 after nearly 16 years as a Florida judge, primarily in family court. He has served on the Florida Supreme Court Steering Committee on Families and Children and as chair of domestic violence subcommittees. Over the years, Judge Doyel has handled over 15,000 domestic violence/restraining order cases as well as thousands of dependency, divorce, custody, and paternity cases. A native of Oklahoma, Judge Doyel received his law degree (JD) from the University of Oklahoma and a master of laws (LLM) and doctorate (SJD) from the University of Wisconsin. Before going on the bench, he was a law school professor and a board certified trial and appellate lawyer.

judicial awards

Four Chief Justice Commendations (for leadership on domestic violence, family court, and dispute resolution issues)

Governor’s Peace at Home Award 2002

Jurist of the Year 2001, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (Florida Chapter)

Judicial Recognition Award 1999, Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Committed to the Public Good

Bob’s committment to the public good didn’t end with his retirement from the bench. Since 2010, Bob has continued to fight for children and families by opposing bad legislation like so-called alimony “reform” and 50/50 child sharing. His concern for the well-being of Florida families is exemplified by his repeated advocacy for expansion of Medicaid and eliminating the privatization of Medicaid, which has made it almost impossible for parents to find medical specialists to treat their children.
Bob is a strong proponent of schools, school boards, teachers, and, of course, students. He has openly opposed the demolition of our public schools by statutes like HB 7069, which was sponsored by Keli Stargel and he has advocated for Home Rule, the ability of our locally elected governments to run our cities and counties, rather than have politicians in Tallahassee dictate to our local officials how they should spend our local tax dollars.

Bob is well known for championing the testing of all rape kits, thousands upon thousands of which have been put on shelves and ignored, sometimes for decades. He has often spoken at seminars and other meetings about domestic violence, sexual assault, and the plight of children..