Margaret Leonard

Margaret Leonard
Margaret Leonard (Republican) represented [the 3rd] district of Spokane in the House of Representatives. Elected in 1980, she served one term.

Leonard was born in Washington, and raised in a family that discussed political ideas. She attended the University of Washigton and the Ellensburg Normal School. A tax consultant, Leonard was also the host of her own radio program, The Public Affairs Department, and a staff writer for the Spokane Falls Newspaper.

In 1961, Leonard jumped into politics when she organized disgruntled voters against an unpopular City Council housing ordinance. Her efforts brought about a referendum which defeated the ordinance.

In 1969, prompted by friends, Leonard campaigned for the Spokane City Council. Looking back on her nine-year tenure on the council she says. "One of my major accomplishments was just what I set out to do, inform the people of what their government was doing and proposing to do." Her status on the Council was a problem though. "I was the first woman that was ever elected to the Spokane City Council, and those men found it very difficult to share equal status. I don't know that I ever really overcame it."

Leonard decided to run for the Legislature because, "I felt there were some issues not being addressed that I could be of some value speaking on for my fellow citizens." In 1978 she ran and lost. In 1980, she led an aggressive campaign that promised less taxation and less regulation, and won.

"I certainly would like to see more women in office." Representative Leonard says. "I think that we need them to bail us out of what the men have got us into. And I think that we will." She and her husband, john, have two children.

--Political Pioneers, The Women Lawmakers