Former Leesburg Town Councilman Kevin Wright will seek the town’s top leadership position in November.
Wright announced today that he has submitted the necessary election filing paperwork to run for mayor in November’s elections. He 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.
He becomes the second person to announce their intentions to run for the mayor’s seat. Vice Mayor Kelly Burk, who is serving as acting mayor until the council appoints a new mayor to serve the remainder of Kristen Umstattd’s term, announced in December her bid for mayor.
In seeking a return to the council dais, Wright said the year spent out of council office provided some needed perspective.
“I’ve had the opportunity to step away and almost be somewhat of a normal citizen, and kind of see what it’s like to stay informed on the issues as a general passerby; see and experience issues from the perspective of Joe or Jane Citizen,” he said.
Wright said numerous Leesburg voters have approached him since his election defeat urging him to run for elected office again. When Umstattd was elected as the Board of Supervisors’ Leesburg District representative in November, creating a vacancy at the mayor’s seat, the wheels were set in motion.
“I had considered running for mayor even before leaving council. But after seeing Kristen move on and knowing there was going to be a need for leadership and after spending a lot of time thinking about it, praying about it, talking with family, we made the decision a little bit after Thanksgiving and started the prep work,” Wright said.
He said the decision to run for mayor rather than a council seat is about bringing leadership to the council dais and helping to “work through issues” and “find commonalities” toward making decisions in the best interest of the town.
“The most important thing for that center [mayor’s] chair is not talking but listening, seeing where the commonalities lie and see if consensus can be built so as a council and team we can work forward together regardless of our differences of background and partisanship,” he said. “Those seven people are who the town [residents] have chosen and who they expect to work together as a team. That’s incumbent on the mayor to find leadership and find common ground.”
Positions of leadership are nothing new to Wright. Having served in a variety of corporate management positions, as well as vice mayor of the council and chairman of the Leesburg Planning Commission, being called to lead and public service have long been hallmarks of his career. Following high school, Wright served as manager of the Tally Ho Theatre and quickly became involved with community efforts in the downtown Leesburg area.
A lifelong Loudoun resident with more than 26 years spent in Leesburg, Wright said his priorities as mayor would be to drive financial responsibility and accountability; improve transportation by funding necessary road projects; attract and retain more business; ensure new development pays its own way and has a fiscal benefit to the town; preserve the town’s quality of life; and provide proven leadership.
If elected, Wright would be the second person in his family to serve at the town’s highest post. His mother, B.J. Bishop, served as mayor from 2000 to 2002.
Wright will host a formal campaign kick-off Saturday, March 5, at noon at the Tally Ho Theater, at 19 W. Market Street in Leesburg. The event will be open to the public. See more information on Wright and his mayoral campaign at www.wrightforleesburg.com.