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Leslie running for Lt. governor

Greg Risling

Confident that his battle with cancer is over, California Sen. Tim Leslie announced his candidacy for lieutenant governor in Sacramento on Wednesday.

Weakened by intensive chemotherapy treatments, Leslie, R-Tahoe City, plans to gain political strength over the next several months as he returns to office and hits the campaign trail.

“During the last few months, people have asked me how I could campaign for statewide office while undergoing chemotherapy,” Leslie said in front of a supportive crowd. “Sadly, few asked how I could continue being a good legislator.”

Leslie, however, paused midway through his speech and stopped soon after. He claims his impromptu finish wasn’t due to health complications but emotions catching the best of him.

The 55-year-old state senator was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a bone marrow cancer that produces a high level of plasma cells, last May. Doctors have stated that Leslie responded well to the five months of chemotherapy and the cancer is currently in remission.

Leslie will face a full field of Republican contenders in the June primary. Fellow Sen. Richard Mountjoy, R-Arcadia, has confirmed he will also run and probably proves the strongest challenge for the post based on his political experience. Other GOP candidates who have pulled nomination papers but haven’t made conformation include businesswomen Noel Hentschel and Ingrid Lundberg and Delbert Mayer.

Leading the Democratic charge is state Assembly speaker Cruz Bustamente. The two party victors will be placed on the November ballot.

Leslie represents the First State Senate District, which covers 13 counties from the Oregon border to Mammoth Lakes. He was re-elected to his seat in 1996.

Leslie outlined his political agenda for lieutenant governor. He still plans to lobby for a bill that would protect the right of individuals to privacy. His fervor grew about the issue after his bout with cancer. He said that medical patients have a right to privacy and medical records shouldn’t be disclosed publicly.

Leslie would like to use the state’s deputy post as a platform for higher education as well. The lieutenant governor has a seat on the University of California Regents Board.

“I will also use the office as a bully pulpit to speak out for reforms to fix our schools … and reach out to our state’s next generation of leaders.”

According to Leslie, he is ready to take the next step after enduring one of the toughest times in his life.

“Now, I am tanned, rested and ready for the second fight of my life … my race to be the next lieutenant governor of California.”

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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