Politics Then and Now
Leslie During was first elected to the Boulder City Council in 1989 and served as mayor from 1990 to 1997. Leslie recently retired and is now re-entering public life in Boulder, so we thought it would be a good time to catch up with her.
What are the accomplishments you are most proud of from your tenure on City Council?
Like many times in Boulder, we faced some challenging issues back then. There was a robust conversation about balancing jobs and housing as we recognized that affordable housing was beginning to disappear. These are tough issues and, frankly, they are very similar to what we struggle with today.
As mayor, my responsibility was to keep a balance between competing interests…to keep conversations going, bringing people and organizations together to work cooperatively on common goals. I am most proud of helping facilitate productive deliberations which resulted in important positive advances in the areas of greatest concern. For example, we adopted the successful practice of locating subsidized housing throughout the community so that affordable housing is integrated into neighborhoods instead of only one area as is common elsewhere.
I’m also proud of guiding the City to a more actively engaged role in funding and providing human services to children, families and people in need. During my tenure, we also provided young people with a meaningful role in community decision-making through the Youth Advisory Board. I look back with great pride on those accomplishments.
And what have you been doing since you retired from City Council?
While volunteering on Council and for a while thereafter, I worked full-time managing many non-profit policy, educational and service organizations in Boulder and in Denver. Most recently, I was employed as the senior vice-president at Planned Parenthood and as director of government relations for a law firm.
Last year I retired for a second time. In addition to reading, gardening and enjoying my growing family, I now serve on the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Colorado, and Frasier Meadows Retirement Center. I am also loving my work for the Boulder Chamber as their liaison between the business community and non-profit organizations.
More recently, I assumed the role as co-chair for ONE BOULDER. We are a group of citizens and organizations working to defeat Ballot Issues 300 and 301 in the upcoming City election. These initiatives run counter to my own philosophy of working together to resolve community issues. Instead, they will divide us, causing chaotic neighborhood disruption and hurting Boulder’s local economy.