Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk is hoping to notch a fourth mayoral victory in November.
Burk has announced her intention to seek re-election to Leesburg’s top seat. She has served as mayor since January 2017, securing her first win in November 2016. The mayor’s post is a two-year term, and Burk has handily won re-election in both of her re-election bids in 2018 and 2020.
She now sets off on what will be her second campaign during the pandemic. It’s been an interesting time to be mayor during COVID-19, she said, perhaps a unique period of a political career that began when she first won election to the Town Council in 2004.
“It’s been a very different experience, very unique to anything I’ve experienced before,” she said. “Everything we’ve done in the last two years, every decision we’ve made, it’s always had some aspect of the pandemic involved in it. It’s never far from our thought process or decision making.”
Going forward, she said she’d love to get to the point where the pandemic is not the “driving force” behind every decision the council wrestles with. She wants to continue to work to support small businesses, and said she was proud of the support the town was able to offer to those businesses during the pandemic. Burk also said it will be important to continue to examine how to use taxpayer money wisely, and to assess the services the town provides its residents and businesses.
“We provide some significant services to people that they really expect and want,” she said. “I want to continue to make sure we’re looking at that and making those decisions smartly based on what’s best for the citizens of Leesburg.”
One noteworthy change to the mayor’s position in the last two years has been the establishment of a dedicated office space, something Burk had advocated for for several years. She said she is happy the office space in Town Hall gives her more accessibility to the public and also “gives legitimacy to the position.” She plans to continue to do pop-up mayor’s hours at businesses around town, a practice she began not long after taking office.
In addition to her two pandemic-packed years in the mayor’s chair, three years into her first four-year council term Burk was elected to the county Board of Supervisors in 2007. She lost her re-election bid in 2011 but was back on the council dais only months later after she won an April 2012 special election to serve the remainder of Ken Reid’s council term. She was then re-elected to the council in 2014 and recorded her first mayoral win in 2016.
Burk, a retired teacher, said the reason for wanting to run again is simple.
“I really love it. I love the job; I love the interaction with the public. I really appreciate all that the public has taught me. So many people have come in with ideas and thoughts and suggestions that I might not have thought of,” she said. “I started this with the vision of making Leesburg more of a vibrant, exciting place to be and that’s what I’ve worked on since 2004. To see it to start to get to that point is very exciting. I’d like to continue that.”