Burk Kicks Off Mayoral Campaign in Leesburg

Standing at what she cited as a prime example of “smart economic growth,” Leesburg Vice Mayor Kelly Burk stated her case for why she should be the town’s next mayor.

Burk hosted her campaign kickoff Saturday at Crescent Place, a mixed-use development along Harrison Street. She pointed to the project as an example of the kind of development the town needs, one that replaced an old, crumbling factory with an attractive space that meets the needs of current and future residents.

Among the campaign themes expressed by Burk during her stump speech was the need for transparency in government and a commitment to embracing the town’s diversity.

From left, Kelly Burk formally announces her bid for mayor of Leesburg, as Supervisor Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg), County Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) and Purcellville Town Council candidate Chris Bledsoe look on.
From left, Kelly Burk formally announces her bid for mayor of Leesburg, as Supervisor Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg), County Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) and Purcellville Town Council candidate Chris Bledsoe look on. (Kara C. Rodriguez/Loudoun Now)

Burk was introduced by County Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At-Large) and former Leesburg mayor, and current Leesburg District supervisor, Kristen Umstattd (D).

Randall noted that it was Burk who introduced her for her campaign kickoff for the chairman’s seat almost exactly a year ago. She said she hoped to provide the “same magic”—a campaign victory—for Burk.

Randall said that the Leesburg Town Council “has been interesting” since Umstattd, the town’s mayor from 2002 to 2015, joined the county board. She highlighted the council’s month-long struggle to choose a new mayor, which ended with the selection of Councilman Dave Butler.

“Things did not go quite as smoothly as we’d hoped,” in the transition of leadership on the council, she said. “We have a new mayor that none of us expected. When I heard about what happened [in the controversial mayoral appointment process] I thought, ‘OK, he’ll be [mayor] for eight months and then go home.’”

Burk also said it is a “real shame to see where the council is at this point.”

“There are deals made, secrets kept,” she said.

Burk said she hoped to bring back more of an air of transparency and “open government.” She said Umstattd did that well.

“When someone came and spoke before the council they knew they were being heard. We’re going to bring it back,” she said to cheers and applause.

An almost 40-year resident of the town, Burk said that much has changed since she moved to Leesburg. She has seen the town grow from a population of about 8,000 to now hovering around 50,000 residents. And with that growth has come increased diversity that Burk said the town needs to embrace. She pointed to last year’s creation of the town’s Diversity Commission, an initiative she is proud to have been a part of starting.

In terms of economic growth, Burk said the town needs to be careful of allowing rezonings of property from commercial to residential, and instead find ways to increase the commercial tax base. She said last week’s ordinance changes that will permit alcoholic beverage service on downtown sidewalks, and the ability for downtown visitors to dine street side, should increase economic activity.

Umstattd said she has known Burk for years, both as a dedicated public school teacher and Town Council member. She called Burk “a strong advocate for preservation, the environment and fiscal responsibility,” who has worked with her fellow council members “with compassion and restraint.”

“There is no one better to be mayor of Leesburg,” Umstattd said. “She will be the best mayor we have seen in this town.”

Burk will face former Councilman Kevin Wright on the November ballot. Butler has said he is considering a run for a full two-year term in the mayor’s seat, but has not made a decision.



7 thoughts on “Burk Kicks Off Mayoral Campaign in Leesburg

  • 2016-03-14 at 11:28 am

    A little over a year ago after Wright was voted out of office Umstattd stated she was going to work to get him back on council. Looks like she has picked the Democrat she wants. But then again she has been known for not telling the whole truth. So maybe Wright or even Butler, two fine Democrats, will also get her endorsement for Mayor.

  • 2016-03-14 at 12:48 pm

    Always interesting to see the Ol’ effort to paint Kevin Wright as a dem. But for me, and many others, the real question is by what amount the voters decide to throw Tom Dunn off the Leesburg Town Council. He clearly needs to go.

  • 2016-03-14 at 5:46 pm

    Lawgh – Wright is a Democrat and we are awaiting a Republican to step forward and announce his candidacy. Tom Dunn received 1 vote for each 2 votes last election to a mayor with major political power who concentrated and all her energy and pandered to the “at risk” neighborhoods, well that is, unless her minions were distributing flyers within my geographic quadrant insulting those who worked very hard, made good decisions and were successful in life in many respects. Tom Dunn has, and will continue to, look out for the Town of Leesburg, especially those who have looked out for the Town in the short-term and will be here to to look out for it in the long-term. There has been some very “negative” reporting on his “antics” due to the liberal indoctrination that has enveloped our Country and Town, which is now an utter PC hoopla. If you want voices of ALL liberals then I guess we should throw Tom Dunn off the Council, but it is refreshing to have a different opinion to all the yes men and women (persons).

    • 2016-03-15 at 11:30 am

      Also, check out her relationship with that O’Connor fellow. He gets everything he wants from Ms Burk and the other Democrats on council.

  • 2016-03-15 at 9:54 am

    Does anyone find it strange that Burk complains about transparency in Government and the way the Council has functioned since Umstattd left? She was the one in charge for several months and could not lead. She has been on the Council the entire time. If she did not like the way Butler was put in the Mayor’s seat and the appointment of his replacement she only has her lack of leadership to blame.

    And, she has her kick-off at a developer’s model home who has a project coming before Council for a vote soon? Let’s guess how she votes on that issue. Talk about lack of transparency.

  • 2016-03-15 at 10:44 am

    I guess I would define Leesburg’s finest, a bit differently than leesburgsfinest does. I guess that poster was attempting to explain that Tom Dunn, who was trounced beyond belief in his last election run for mayor, somehow is worthy of praise, because he was trounced beyond belief in his last election run for mayor. But at least we now have the entertainment factor of waiting for that, as of yet, un-announced person’s run for mayor, who will be the true repub. Maybe, oh maybe, Tom Dunn will run for mayor a third time, this year, and when he loses, we will finally see the last of Tom Dunn. Oh, but I forgot. Tom Dunn does have the habit of not risking that, by running for mayor in the middle of his term, so when he loses, he still has his town council seat. Coward.

  • 2016-03-17 at 2:49 pm

    I am in no way 100% for Burk but will see. I do find it hard to understand why the only people to complain about the Council selection process were the two not selected. You got to watch the video online. It is hard to hear at times but it is good entertainment. 1st Fernado Martinez appoints Campbell to a Town Commission. Then Campbell stands before Council a few times preaching about openness and fairness. Then Burk claims she wants someone OFF Council to serve as Mayor. Then Butler nominates her to be the Mayor. Burk accepts the nomination and will serve if voted by Council. She does not get the votes. Neither does Campbell who announces he is running for Council, after he does he get selected to fill Bulter’s seat.
    So it was just by chance that Martinez gets Campbell a commission, then tries to get him on Council in an election year, and then Campbell runs for council; NO WAY! And Burk can’t even be honest about wanting the Mayor position. Yet these two, with Democrat Chairman Martinez cheerleading, are the only ones complaining about the process! You are loosing me Burk. I might have to switch my vote to Wright, unless Butler runs on the Democrat ticket.

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