News Article

The following is excerpted from an August 31, 2006 article in the Sacramento Bee newspaper.

Leslie Ends A 'Dream Come True'

After serving in the Legislature for two decades, Assemblyman Tim Leslie is retiring from public office because of term limits -- proud of his 220 bills signed into law

By Jim Sanders -- Bee Capitol Bureau
Published 12:01 am PDT Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sacramento Business Journal - 12/30/2005Assemblyman Tim Leslie lost his first three elections for public office. He battled cancer twice.

But God apparently had a plan, says Leslie, and it clearly worked.

The soft-spoken, cross-wearing, conservative Republican from Carmichael will leave the Legislature this year as its dean, with 20 years of service.

"A dream come true," he said of retiring from floor fights and committee meetings, but not necessarily public service.

Leslie, among other things, said he plans to devote more time to Hope Unlimited, a nonprofit, faith-based program that helps destitute children who wander the streets of Brazil.

Asked what he'd like constituents in Alpine, Placer, El Dorado and Sacramento counties to remember about him, Leslie didn't hesitate.

"That I always worked hard, that I got along with people on both sides of the aisle, and that … I did accomplish quite a bit."

Leslie said 220 of his legislative proposals have been signed into law.

Two of his most prominent bills banned teachers from resuming their careers after conviction for a sex offense against a minor and increased the instructional time required before teenagers receive their driver's license.

Leslie, with Democrat John Laird of Santa Cruz, also helped create the Sierra Nevada Conservancy to protect sensitive areas, reduce fire risks and improve tourism opportunities in 22 counties, including Placer and El Dorado.

The 64-year-old Carmichael resident, who also owns a home in Tahoe City, is one of two Sacramento-area lawmakers being termed out of the Legislature this year.

Colleagues describe Leslie as a kindhearted lawmaker who seldom raises his voice but isn't afraid of political warfare.

"Not only does he fight the good fight, he does it the right way," said Assemblyman Ray Haynes, R-Murrieta. "Even when he disagrees with you, he goes out of his way to make sure he's not disagreeable."

(GOP Assemblywoman Sharon) Runner described Leslie as thoughtful and considerate.

"I think he was from the olden days when you got along with people from both sides of the aisle," Runner said, smiling.

Former Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg, a Sacramento Democrat, said he often disagreed with Leslie but respected him nonetheless.

"He knows how to argue and fight for his beliefs, without personalizing it," he said.

Leslie is gutsy and willing to "break away at times" from conservative politics or take a strong stand on controversial issues, Steinberg said.

For example, Leslie, known as an anti-tax conservative, recently sent out an e-mail supporting a tax increase to build a new Sacramento Kings arena.

"I think the Sacramento Kings are right next to critical for Sacramento," Leslie said at the time.

"We would exist if we didn't have them, but the Kings add so much community, so much excitement, so much pride, and they absolutely put Sacramento on the map around the world."

Leslie entered the Legislature before voters passed term limits in 1990.

He served in the Assembly from 1986 to 1991; moved to the Senate in 1991; then rejoined the Assembly in 2000.
….

Leslie and his wife, Clydene, have two grown children -- Scott Leslie, a Sierra College trustee; and Deborah Freeman, a freelance graphic artist.

About the writer:
The Bee's Jim Sanders can be reached at (916) 326-5538 or jsanders@sacbee.com.