He was born in Oslo, and formerly worked as a journalist. From 1981 to 1985 he was a political advisor in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Administration. He was elected to Oslo city council in 1991, and was a city commissioner between 1997 and 2000. From 2000 to 2009 he was the Governing mayor of Oslo. As such he headed the executive branch of the city government in the capital city of Norway.
Erling Lae is a Norwegian county governor and politician for the Conservative Party. He is married to priest Jens Torstein Olsen with whom he has lived with since 1983. He has contributed greatly to put gay political issues on the agenda, including Norway's first action plan against discrimination against gays, lesbians and bisexuals, adopted in June 2006. In June 2007 Lae was awarded the Rainbow Prize in Berlin, for his efforts against discrimination of lesbians and gays.
He was a deputy leader of the Conservative Party from 2008 to 2010. In 2010 he was announced as the new county governor of Vestfold, succeeding Mona Røkke.
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