Leslie Mackie has blazed at least three trails.
In 2015 she became the first woman elected Sterling County judge.
Two years ago, she was, at age 32, the youngest person elected Sterling County judge.
And she’s the first Sterling County judge who could pull off leopard-print heels.
None of this strikes Mackie as particularly noteworthy.
“Sterling County has some empowered ladies and the younger generation has some out-of-the-box thinking,” she said. “They don’t underestimate young women. They accepted me with open arms.”
That Mackie gravitated to public life is practically a given. Her mother is longtime Tom Green Country Court-at-Law Judge Penny Roberts. Her grandmother served as a trustee of the San Angelo Independent School District.
Service, Mackie said, was “ingrained in me.”
The San Angelo native landed in Sterling County after college with her husband, whose family has ranched the same spread for more than 100 years. If anyone calls her “Judge Mackie,” it typically happens only once and “ends up being ‘Leslie’ after that.”
“It’s nice and peaceful and slower,” she said of life in Sterling County. “We could use a Starbucks and a carwash, but that’s it. I don’t want to change it … other than to make it the best county in Texas. You’re never going to find any better people than in Sterling County, Texas.”
Her job – a blend of judicial responsibility and administrative problem-solving – perfectly melds Mackie’s interest in the law with her service-oriented gregariousness. Parts of her day are spent ruling on misdemeanor criminal and probate cases. The courtroom, she says, is her favorite aspect of the job. But she becomes far more animated talking about helping Sterling County’s citizenry.
She delights in her constituents stopping her at six-man football games, calling her on Saturday afternoons or tracking her down via her husband’s cell phone.
“A lot of people want the power or recognition, but they don’t want to deal with the people who got them there,” she said. “That’s what I love about this job – helping the people who got me here. I love that people need my help – because I really want to help people and to serve.”
That service extends beyond her office and beyond Sterling County.
She chaired the Junior League of San Angelo’s first Touch a Truck. The event lets youngsters clamber over and through heavy pieces of equipment: fire trucks, bulldozers, even a helicopter. The kids have a great time while the Junior League raises awareness of its efforts to help children in need.
Mackie and her husband also host Children’s Miracle Network fundraisers.
The spinoff benefit of her civic involvement, she said, is modeling charity for her own four children.
“If you lived a blessed lifestyle, you have an obligation to reach out to others,” she said. “It takes a village for sure. And I want my kids to be big contributors to their village.”
Whatever Mackie “sets out to do,” fellow Junior Leaguer Lindsey Elliott said, “she will excel at it – with a crowd of people following her.”