"Be yourself. Be authentic. Be bold. You are the leader we need right now."
Leslie is a national leader on LGBTQ, discrimination, and police reform issues. This year at the state legislature she passed landmark legislation including the CROWN Act - banning discrimination based on natural hair - as well as was a key voice in the Black Lives Matter protests and led on Colorado's police reform bill which is one of the few in the nation to remove qualified immunity for officers. She is the first Black gay legislator at the capitol and a leader on social justice issues.
Name: Leslie Herod
Birthplace: Denver, CO
Role: Colorado State Representative, District 8 and incumbent candidate in 2020
Coalition(s): Black, LGBTQ+, legislator, woman
Can you tell us about the office you are running for/your current elected position? What made you decide to run for office? I am the proud State Representative of Colorado House District 8 representing Central and Northeast Denver. I was first elected in 2016 as the first LGBTQ African American in the General Assembly, while receiving the highest number of votes of any candidate running in a contested election. I currently serve as the Chair of the House Finance Committee, Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and Chair of the Committee on Legal Services. I also chair the Colorado Black Democratic Legislative Caucus and the Arts Caucus. Currently, I am running for reelection for this seat. I ran for office to address the deep rooted and very real systemic issues facing Coloradans, especially Coloradans of Colorado. With the lack of BIPOC representation in elected office throughout Colorado, it was pretty clear to me that new, diverse representation was needed. People like me deserve a seat at the table, so I ran.
What is the most important issue you are focusing on in your campaign? This past session we passed the Law Enforcement Accountability and Integrity Act here in Colorado. With this I am continuing to focus on addressing the inequities within our criminal legal system. I am also continuing to ensure that Colorado’s COVID response is rooted in equity and truly serves all Coloradans so we can recover strong.
Why is the leadership of Black women needed right now? The leadership of Black women has always been needed. Right now we are at a crossroads in our nation. In this sense it is more important than ever that we value and uplift the leadership of Black women who have always been there to lead us through these very challenging times. Struggle isn’t new for us. Black women are fierce, bold, and ready to take on the challenge. There is no true representation until Black women are at the table at every level of government. It’s time to trust and elect Black women.
What advice would you give other women who want to get involved in their community or who want to run for office? Do it. All over the country women are running and winning. This is the time to push for a different kind of candidate because what we have been doing and who we have been electing so far in America hasn’t been working. Be yourself. Be authentic. Be bold. You are the leader we need right now.