Kevin Wright formally launched his campaign for Leesburg mayor with a celebration at Tally Ho Theatre Saturday afternoon.
Wright served on the Town Council for eight years, before being defeated in his re-election bid for a third four-year council term in 2014.
It was fitting that Wright held the kickoff ceremony at Tally Ho, he and others noted, because he got his first job out of high school at the then-movie theater.
“It all started right here; this was my introduction to public service,” he said.
He sold tickets in the box office and worked his way up to management, and on Saturday, he told the couple of hundred town leaders and supporters gathered in the renovated space why he wanted to bring that attitude of service to the town’s top post.
In a 15-minute speech, Wright brought up the conflict and political infighting among town councilmembers in recent months.
After months of disagreement over who should serve as interim mayor—and finish out the term of Kristen C. Umstattd, who was elected in November as the Leesburg District representative on the Board of Supervisors—the council finally got enough votes last month to appoint David Butler. That triggered another round of conflict as councilmembers clashed over who should fill Butler’s seat. Last week, they appointed Bruce Gemmill.
“Over the past several months, Leesburg has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, due to disagreement, indecision, divisiveness and partisanship,” Wright said. “That is not what we should expect or accept from our leaders. As mayor, I would set a different tone, set a different expectation of council, and create a different atmosphere.”
Among his priorities if elected, he listed renewing relationships between town and county leaders, focusing on community policing in every Leesburg neighborhood, and improving the town government’s communication with residents through newsletters, forums and one-on-one meetings.
“I love Leesburg, and I see issues that need resolution; I can do that,” he added.
Several other speakers brought up the divisiveness among politicians both at the town level and national level, referring to the contentious presidential primaries. Del. J. Randall Minchew (R-10), Clerk of the Loudoun County Circuit Court Gary Clemens and Planning Commissioner Brett Burk said Wright would unify the council and usher in an era of effectiveness.
“Leadership is really about bringing people together, working across party lines,” said Minchew, and called it a blessing that the town holds nonpartisan elections. “Kevin Wright has proven that he is a leader, that he is a man of integrity and character.”
In his mayoral bid, Wright faces Leesburg Vice Mayor Kelly Burk. Burk will hold her campaign kickoff 4-6 p.m. Saturday, March 12, at 235 Crescent Place in Leesburg.
See Wright’s campaign website at www.wrightforleesburg.com.
Also see Loudoun Now article, “Wright Announces Leesburg Mayoral Bid.”