Letter: Katie Sheldon Hammler, Leesburg

Editor: As I seek the support of Leesburg voters this fall for re-election to a fourth term on the Town Council, I am reminded that this is only the second election when council members will be on the November ballot with candidates for President.  I was one of only three council members who had supported moving the elections from May in odd years in order to increase voter turnout.  As a Loudoun Now editorial recently pointed out, moving the town’s balloting to the fall even-year general election ran the risk that races could become more overtly partisan, and they have.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.  As I ask the voters of Leesburg for their support for another term on the Town Council, I want to emphasize that I am again seeking to serve all the people of Leesburg in a non-partisan manner, without regard to partisan political agendas, party affiliations or presidential preferences.  This is a local election, and it must remain so.

I’m focused on problem solving in Leesburg . I do not belong to any political party, and as in the past I did not ask this year for either local party’s endorsement. As such, I will be the only candidate not on either party’s sample ballot.

I respect the right of other candidates for Leesburg Town Council to have sought and received endorsements by the local party committees. They will now be on sample ballots with former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton or with New York businessman Donald Trump. But I believe Leesburg voters don’t want our Town Council races to become annexes of the presidential campaigns, which have been notable this year for their lack of attention to so many real issues and for their lack of civility.  That’s why so many people are voting against one or the other presidential candidates, rather than for someone.  We must do better in Leesburg.

Under Virginia law and Leesburg’s town charter, our town elections are non-partisan races, and I am campaigning once again in conformance with that principle.  I have served Leesburg residents on the Town Council continuously since 2004, longer than any other candidate.  And throughout my three terms, I have sought to work with council members regardless of politics and to bring a common sense, non-partisan approach to make the best decisions for the issues facing Leesburg.

I respectfully thank you for printing this letter and for the opportunity to again seek the support of Leesburg residents from all across the political spectrum on Nov. 8.  Even as you support partisan candidates at the federal level or for other council seats, please recognize that my candidacy affords you a unique opportunity to vote for someone at the local level who pledges to use common sense, to be non-partisan, to put you first on the Town Council, and to work only for you for the next four years in our little corner of democracy.

Katie Sheldon Hammler, Leesburg