Leslie learned the value of public service and sacrifice. Her mother was an officer in the Army Nurse Corps, and raised Leslie as a single parent on Army bases around the world. Her mother taught her that helping others is always the right thing to do, a lesson Leslie has carried with her throughout her life and career. In grade school, Leslie met the people that she would eventually call her bonus parents. Her father, a law enforcement officer, entrenched Leslie’s belief that serving the public is a noble calling–one that, years later, motivated her interest in running for office to help improve the lives of people in her community.
Leslie broke barriers by becoming the first LGBTQ+ Black woman elected to the Colorado legislature, Leslie set out with one goal in mind: Bringing people together to get real results that improve the lives of people in the community. Leslie championed a successful alternative policing program that deploys trained mental health workers and paramedics to respond to 911 calls involving mental health crises and substance misuse. The program continues today and is strongly supported by the Denver community. Leslie also developed and successfully championed the Caring for Denver ballot initiative, which has raised $83 million for organizations for mental health and substance misuse treatment in Denver. A national model, these funds are now reaching over 188 organizations across Denver and are getting people the help they desperately need.
Leslie currently serves as the Chair of the Appropriations Committee and on the powerful Joint Budget Committee, where she has delivered a $36B balanced budget for Colorado. Having worked with Democrats and Republicans alike, Leslie passed over 150 pieces of legislation in her tenure, directly delivering results to Colorado. Now Leslie is ready to bring that same approach of putting results over politics to the Denver Mayor’s office. As Mayor, she’ll focus on addressing the day-to-day issues impacting our lives: affordable housing, safer streets for our families, and addressing the homelessness crisis. As she has throughout her life, she will bring people together to get things done, meet the moment, and create real change for Denver.