With one Town Council election already in the books for 2018, the town leaders now turns their eyes toward November. And the one at the center of the council dais has made it known that she will be giving it another go.
Mayor Kelly Burk has announced her intention to seek re-election for a two-year mayoral term. Burk is in her first term as mayor, but is no stranger to the Loudoun political scene. She was first elected to the council in 2004, and then won a seat on the Board of Supervisors as its Leesburg District representative three years later. She served one term on the board. After losing her re-election bid she returned to the council a few months later during an April 2012 special election. In November 2016, she was victorious in her first bid for mayor, besting challengers David Butler and Kevin Wright. She and her family have lived in Leesburg since 1979.
In the almost 14 months since she began her mayoral reign, Burk said she’s learned quite a lot. Running meetings and maintaining decorum along the dais has been an exercise in both efficiency and patience. But, despite some council squabbles along the way, she believes her first year as mayor has gone very well, even with the changing cast of characters on the dais thanks to vacancies, resignations, and election bids.
“Maintaining a stable environment where the public feels welcome … I think the Town Council has been able to do that,” she said.
The heightened interest in opening a business in Leesburg, particularly in its downtown market, the Crescent Place development, and the HUBZone, has been particularly gratifying.
“The different businesses we are attracting are very important to making a strong, diverse economy. That’s always been one of my goals,” Burk said.
Just as importantly as celebrating new or expanding businesses is seeing that regulatory changes need to be made to accommodate their growth, something Burk said she plans on continuing to do if re-elected. She cites downtown parking regulations as particularly needing attention.
An outspoken advocate for the arts, Burk also looks back on the past year as a banner one for the public art community, with several projects erected and more to come.
Another priority going forward is continuing to work with the county and state on transportation and transit projects, she said. This includes funding for key projects, like the overpasses on Battlefield Parkway, Fort Evans Road and Edwards Ferry Road. And ensuring that shuttle service is provided to the planned Walmart site at Compass Creek, when it moves from its current Edwards Ferry Road location, is also important.
In her recent State of the Town address, Burk also laid out a new initiative she would like to begin: annual surveys gauging the input and opinions of both town residents and town businesses.
With the filing deadline still a few months away, Burk already knows it will not be an uncontested duel to keep her seat. Councilman Ron Campbell announced in November that he will run for mayor. As to why voters should choose her to continue to lead the town, Burk points to her past work.
“I have the experience and vision and expertise to work on these things. I’ve been doing this awhile. I feel very strongly that Leesburg is a great place to live, work and play, and I want to continue that,” she said.
Burk is planning a springtime campaign kick-off, but details have not been finalized. In addition to the mayor’s seat, the council seats of Marty Martinez, Suzanne Fox and Vanessa Maddox will on the ballot for four-year terms in November. None of the three has publicly announced whether they will seek re-election.