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Leslie Knope

Parks and Recreation Character Guide

Leslie Knope is the protagonist in the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation.
For most of the show's run, she serves as the Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation Department of the fictional city of Pawnee, Indiana. An over-achiever, Knope believes the government should serve the people.
Leslie is a mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana who hopes to advance her career and improve her town, while working towards her goal of becoming the first female President.
Knope is a fan of Hillary Clinton, prominently displaying her official portrait as Secretary of State on the wall next to her door. In addition, she displays the photographs of Madeline Albright, Condoleezza Rice, Janet Reno, and Nancy Pelosi.
Leslie is a proud member of numerous action committees in and around City Hall, including, but not limited to: the Equal Opportunity Committee, the Fun in the Sun Committee, and many more.
She is also desperate to impress her mother Marlene, who is a well-known politician in the Pawnee government. At a public forum, she meets Ann Perkins, who informs her about a pit near her house that her boyfriend, Andy Dwyer, fell into.
Leslie takes on the project, hoping to build a park there, and quickly becomes friends with Ann. However, she learns that overcoming the red tape of government and budget deficits is difficult.
In "The Master Plan," Leslie meets Ben Wyatt and Chris Traeger, who are state auditors who have come to Pawnee because the city is broke. At first, Leslie doesn't get along with Ben. When he asks her out to have a drink, they begin to respect each other more.
Leslie decides to bring back the defunct Pawnee Harvest Festival, the success or failure of which will determine the financial future of the Parks Department. After weeks of planning, the Harvest Festival is a success.
Leslie is shown to have feelings for Ben Wyatt. She wants to take another step in their relationship but isn't allowed to because of Chris Traeger's inter-office dating rules. Ben struggles with choosing between a job offer in Indianapolis and one in Pawnee. Not wanting to show that she likes him, Leslie tells him it's a "tough call" and tells him to make a pros and cons list. He ultimately decides he likes Pawnee and wants to stay there because he's moved around so much.
Leslie and Ben revel in "the bubble," the beginning stage of a relationship when everything is simple and fun. Their bubble is threatened, however, when Leslie's notoriously tough mother Marlene Griggs-Knope, a Pawnee politician, meets with Ben to discuss a business request. Leslie initially makes Ben nervous for the meeting and Marlene believes him to be weak. When Leslie tries to prepare him for a follow-up meeting, Ben is so confident that Marlene ends up becoming attracted to him herself. Fed up, Ben admits he is secretly dating Leslie, much to Marlene's amusement.
After some encouragement from Ben, Leslie decides to run for City Council. She writes a book detailing her love for the city of Pawnee entitled Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America. Leslie soon comes to realize that while she is running, her relationship with Ben cannot continue, and they regretfully break up.
Leslie then announces her City Council candidacy to the public. She decides to hire Andy Dwyer as her assistant. After both Ben and Leslie find they cannot get over one another, they get back together. Chris, regretfully, launches a full-scale investigation into their relationship and arranges an ethics hearing for each of them. Ben sacrifices his job to save Leslie from losing hers and she's suspended for two weeks with pay. The scandal of their relationship and her plummeting poll numbers causes her campaign staff, to abandon her.
Bobby Newport is announced as the winner of the City Council election by 21 votes. After a recount, Ann tells Leslie that she has won the election.
Through flash-forwards in the final season, it is shown that by the year 2025, Leslie will run a successful campaign for Governor of Indiana as a member of the Democratic Party, and will serve two terms in that office. It is hinted that either she or Ben has been elected President of the United States by 2048.