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Legislative Watch

Sheila Leslie

 Sheila Leslie

District: Washoe No. 27
Political Party: Democrat
Current Job/Position: Specialty Courts Coordinator
Born: 1955
Hometown: Carmel, Calif.
Family: Divorced, One daughter, Emma.
Education: M.A., Spanish language and literature, University of Nevada, Reno, 1979 BA, Sonoma State University, 1977.
Interviewed By: Lea Moser
Interview Date: 4/2/2008
Sheila Leslie has been Assemblywoman in the state of Nevada, Reno since 1998 to present 2008.  She represents the 27th district in Washoe County and has been the assistant majority whip. She also works in local non-profit sectors and has worked in the Peace Corps as a volunteer in the Dominican Republic.

Q & A

Q - How did you get to where you are?
“I became an assemblywoman because my family urged me to do it in 1998.  I kept complaining that we needed someone good to run because no one was running in the election as a Democrat.  My family said I should stop complaining and run myself, so I did.”

Q - What other jobs did you have leading up to this one?
“I worked in volunteer/non-profit areas, such as the Peace Corps.”

Q - Did you ever think you would become an Assemblywoman?
“No way I never thought I would be where I am today.  I got an M.A. in Spanish and literature. I never thought I would be an assemblywoman.”

Q - What are your goals for your regular career or personally?
“I have an entrepreneurial approach to human services. I want to help the specialty courts, improve them.”

Q - What are your hobbies or interests?
“I like to read. That’s one of the benefits of being term limited out, more time to read.  I also like to hike and back pack, usually through central Nevada.”

Q - What unusual event have you been involved in, or unusual or memorable people have you met?
“Foreign countries.  I was a teenager in Spain.  I learned how to speak Spanish in Madrid. I spent a year in the Dominican Republic in the Peace Corps.”

 Leslie talked about how going to these foreign countries gave her a broader view of the world.  She said it affected her outlook on other countries.

Q - How did you become successful at what you do?
“I think my academic training in literature helped.” 

Q - What are your favorite causes?
“My favorite causes have to be the ones to do with human welfare and services and children.”

Q - Who or what are your inspirations?
“I am inspired by strong women politically in Nevada, women who are mothers and manage a professional and political life.”

Q - What are your legislative goals next session?
“My goals revolve around health care, and the hepatitis C problem.  I am also devoted to substance abuse, eating disorders, and for when the terms limits happen, training the new legislators.”

Leslie stated that it was sad that old legislators are going to have to train new ones.  She stated that it takes a lot of time to become an effective assemblywoman. 

Q - What issues facing Nevada do you think are most important?
“Lack of revenue, health care, and substance abuse education.”

Q - How do you view the slim Republican majority in the Senate?
“I prefer a Democratic majority.”

Leslie stated that she hoped for non-partisan issues of her own such as working on ways to help autistic students. 

Q - How do you view the large Democratic majority in the Assembly?
“Comfortably.  I enjoy the Assembly, I like the atmosphere, and I am enjoying the Democratic caucus.”

Q - I see that you are a member of JOIN Together Northern Nevada, a coalition against drug abuse. What would you say you think about the teen drug use in Reno?
“I think it’s horrible, and one of the leading causes in crime. The methamphetamine problem in this state is awful and sad to hear.”

Q - Looking at your achievements and involvements, it seems that your main focus is on the welfare of children, would you agree?
 “Absolutely I would agree.  I’m involved in many boards that try to help the children of our state in bad situations.  I think the welfare of our children is important, as well as the education of our kids.

Q - How do you tink the budget deficit will affect the education of our children?
 “I think the budget deficit is awful. Legislation is going to be working to help get our kids more money. Education and the welfare of our kids is most important,

Q - In response to welfare, what are Legislators going to be doing about the hospital sterilization problems that have been occuring?
This issue is going to be a main front running issue in legislation. We are going to be making different programs for safety procedures.  Different boards that will inspect hospitals, there will be trainings. Legislation is going to fix this problem.”

Q - On what issue will you not budge?
Hmmm, that’s a good one.  It has to be the death penalty.  I believe that we should not be killing, but correcting the problems.  I don’t see a need in killing someone who has the potential to change.”

Did you Know?

- Sheila Leslie was on the Girl Scout Council of Sierra Nevada Board of Directors.

- In 2005, Sheila scored a 100 percent on the Nevada Conservation League Score Card, the only Legislator to have a perfect score card four years in a row.

- Sheila has a daughter named Emma who attended Reno High School and is now attending Whitman College in Washington state.

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