Louisville Magazine

OCT 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

Issue link: https://loumag.epubxp.com/i/1033109

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Page 57 of 144

LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 10.18 55 She finished her master's dissertation on a ursday afternoon, jumped in a one-way U-Haul and drove to Edna, Texas, where she started a job at a petrochemical company on the following Monday. She moved around to several companies throughout her 20s, living in parts of Texas and in Chicago. Her role was to make sure the companies' projects were in compliance with Environmental Protection Agency standards. She evokes a sort of Erin Brockovich quality when she talks about how she would climb water towers and work with "Ph.D. scientists in California to help implement this continuous air- monitoring system." e young engineer in a field dominated by men wasn't always taken seriously. A foreman once called her a little girl and told her she didn't know what she was talking about. She eventually reconnected with the man who would become her husband, Lee, whom she first met in Air Force ROTC at U of L, where he went to the Speed School for computer engineering. After maternity leave following the birth of their first son, Leet would travel to Chicago for four or six weeks at a time, overnighting supplies of frozen breast milk to Lee, who would drop it off at their son's daycare. e daycare staff nicknamed the boy FedEx. On one trip up north, Leet was preparing to host a meeting when her husband held the phone up to their son, who was "barking like a dog," Leet says, clearly down with whooping cough. "I realized we can't both work a hundred hours a week," she says. Lee had started out consulting with Yum! Brands and was building up his restaurant-technology company, QSR Automations. Leet finished the project she'd been working on and returned to Louisville. Not one to, as she says, "let the grass grow" under her feet, she started building houses with Habitat for Humanity by the time her first son was seven or eight months old. She served on the board for a number of years but is less involved now, though she donates part of her $48,000 Metro Council salary to the nonprofit. (e rest has gone to the Red Cross, Fund for the Arts and the restorative-justice program at Spalding University, where she's on the board of trustees. She says she would donate her mayoral salary as well.) "I believe that in the board service you gotta move around because you add new value, new energy, new ideas," she says. "You can apply it to different places. Eventually, you're just sitting there occupying a seat and not actually doing the work." She feels similarly about a mayor being allowed three terms, which is why, she says, her first three actions as mayor would be to replace LMPD Chief Conrad, make sure wages and work conditions for first responders are better and to go to the state legislature and work to change the mayor's term limit. "Fischer — he's courteous; he's not a bad person," she says. "He's had enough time in this position, and it's time for something different. I think he's failed our community on some of the basic things that we should be doing well." roughout her campaign, she has raised the volume of her disappointment in the city's crime rates, which, though homicides have fallen from last year, are much higher than when Fischer entered office in 2011, though he points to the national trend: Other cities have seen the same rise. Leet keeps a tally of shootings and homicides, which she displays on giant yellow posters taped to her second-floor City Hall windows facing the corner of West Jefferson and Sixth streets. In late June, she held a press conference at her campaign headquarters inside the McMahan Plaza in Hikes Point, near where she grew up. She had been bitten by something — maybe while picking up trash by the Ohio River — and had woken up the morning of the press conference with a rash all over, so she took some Benadryl that just about knocked her out. It wasn't as though she appeared drowsy, but the politician who normally lasers through questions and statements stumbled through several words as she made her remarks: the Explorer investigation report had been overly redacted; the list of the mayor's Derby guests should not be a secret if their travels are on the taxpayers' dime; the undisclosed bid for an Amazon headquarters should be revealed to show other companies what the city is willing to offer. She trudged through her bullet points, licking her fingers to flip through the pages on the podium. ("I was like, Please don't fall over. Don't scratch your legs. Ignore the rash," she says.) After a seemingly rough start, she found her groove. "I do find it interesting that one of my colleagues got raked pretty well over the coals in the final days of her election in regards to the fact that $6,200 was spent on a table for a function for a nonprofit organization" — referring to Democratic councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, who has been

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