Joined by a crowd of supporters on the town green, Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk formally kicked off her re-election campaign Saturday.
Several of the county’s top Democrats took turns at the microphone to share why they are supporting Burk for a second term. County Chairwoman J. Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) reminded the roughly 50 people gathered for the event that it wasn’t long ago that there were so few Democrats active in Loudoun County that they could have all met the in a phone booth. “And still had room,” she joked.
Now, close to 300 people attend Loudoun County Democrat Committee meetings.
“Through that whole time, Kelly Burk has been here, fighting the good fight for us for decades,” Randall said.
Burk’s first run for elected office was in 1996 against Richard “Dick” Black, now representing the 13th District in the state senate, for a House of Delegates seat. She was first elected to the Leesburg Town 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 a 2012 special election. In 2016, she was victorious in her first bid for mayor, besting challengers David Butler and Kevin Wright.
Burk, a retired teacher, and her family have lived in Leesburg since 1979.
One of the mayor’s former students, Thai Nguyen, said she has been a public servant even when no one was watching. “She inspired us to do many things beyond our capabilities.”
For her turn at the mic, Burk told the crowd that she has one goal in her work as an elected official: “To make Leesburg the best place in Northern Virginia to live and do business,” she said. “Every moment I work, that goal is driving me.”
She listed several steps she’s taking—and would continue to work toward if re-elected—to reach that goal. She said she’ll strive to manage growth, which includes approving development applications that offer a smart and thoughtful approach to growth. She also said she wants to continue to prioritize historic preservation in the town and keep Leesburg’s property tax rate the lowest in the region.
“I want Leesburg to be the best place to live and do business,” she said, “and I want everyone in Northern Virginia to know it’s the best.”
In her bid for a second term, Burk faces a challenge from Leesburg Councilman Ron Campbell.
In addition to the mayor’s seat, the council seats held by 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.