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Middleburg Blog: Bataoel announces mayoral candidacy

After 16 years as mayor of Middleburg, Betsy Davis will not be seeking re-election and will retire in 2018. During those years, Mayor Davis has become greatly admired for her efforts in keeping Middleburg a very special small town.

The first to declare candidacy for the May 1, 2018 election is local community and business leader Vincent Bataoel, who, since 2014, has been serving as chairman of the town’s Economic Development Advisory Committee. He is currently in his second term in that position.

Bataoel and his wife, Nelina, have owned and operated a small business in Middleburg since 2010. The business, Above Green, is in the environmental consulting and preservation industry with eight employees. The business is based in an improved office on North Jay Street in Middleburg.

The mayoral candidate is well known in the community for his role in helping lure the soon-to-open King Street Oyster Bar to Middleburg, and Bataoel considers its recruitment a formative moment. “When I saw how excited the community was about the oyster bar, it dawned on me that I was having a positive impact. I want to continue to have a positive impact and serve our community,” he said.

Bataoel has several initiatives he said he will champion if elected. One priority, he said, will be to keep Middleburg the charming small town it is now. “We are a town with tourists, but we don’t want to become a tourist town. We need to make sure that our identity as a town comes first, a town that tourists want to visit, but not a town only motivated by attracting tourists.”

Additionally, Bataoel says that Middleburg could do more to encourage reinvestment in its historic downtown. He maintains there are many absentee landlords whose buildings are vacant because their rents are too high, and, consequently, their spaces are not in good shape. He plans for the town to fill empty spaces by inviting what he calls “sustainable and viable businesses” to move into the town’s business district.

If elected mayor, Bataoel said he is also determined to support and help the town realize the potential of the equestrian community.

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