Bill Leonard

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For other people named Bill Leonard, see Bill Leonard (disambiguation).

William R. "Bill" Leonard (born 1947) is a Republican U.S. politician who served as a member of the California State Board of Equalization from 2002 until his resignation in March 2010.

Life and career[edit]

After earning his B.A. in history from the University of California, Irvine, Bill Leonard worked in real estate and property management.

Leonard served on the Board of Directors of the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District before being elected to the California State Assembly in 1978 on the coattails of Proposition 13.

In 1988, after serving five terms in the Assembly, he was elected to the State Senate, representing an 11,000-square-mile (28,000 km2) district. During his time in the Senate, Leonard was the longest-serving Republican Caucus Chairman, holding the post from 1990 until term limits forced him to leave the Senate in 1996.

During his time in the Senate, Leonard wrote California's Leonard Law, the only law in the United States to extend First Amendment rights to students at private colleges and universities.

In 1996, by a margin of 63%-37%, voters returned Leonard to the Assembly, where he served as Republican Leader from 1997 to 1998. He was re-elected in 1998 with 72% of the vote and in 2000 with 58% of the vote in a three-way race.

After term limits forced Leonard to leave the Assembly in 2002, he won election to represent the Second District on the five-member State Board of Equalization with 59% of the vote. He was re-elected in 2006 with 55.8% of the vote.

Leonard resigned from the State Board of Equalization in March 2010 in order to join Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration.[1]


External links[edit]

California Assembly
Preceded by
Jerry Lewis
California State Assemblyman
67th District
Succeeded by
John R. Lewis
Preceded by
Dick Mountjoy
California State Assemblyman
61st District
Succeeded by
Paul A. Woodruff
Preceded by
Jim Brulte
California State Assemblyman
63rd District
Succeeded by
Robert Dutton
California Senate
Preceded by
H. L. Richardson
California State Senator
31st District
Succeeded by
Jim Brulte
Party political offices
Preceded by
Curt Pringle
California State Assembly Republican Leader
June 17, 1997 – November 5, 1998
Succeeded by
Rod Pacheco
Political offices
Preceded by
Dean Andal
California State Board of Equalization Member
2nd District
January 6, 2003 – March 10, 2010
Succeeded by
Barbara Alby