MORE: Dave Butler to run for Leesburg mayor in November
“I am honored to be Leesburg’s mayor, and I look forward to continuing in 2017 and beyond,” he said during a conference call from Nashville, Tenn. He invited reporters from several media outlets, including the Times-Mirror, to join the call.
First elected to council in 2008, Butler was appointed mayor on an interim basis in February after previous mayor Kristen Umstattd won election to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors last November.
His appointment was anything but smooth, with council going through several rounds of nominations and votes before landing on Butler with a 4-2 vote.
Butler believes that he will stand out from the other two announced candidates, Vice Mayor Kelly Burk and former councilman Kevin Wright, because he has worked with members on both sides of the aisle during his eight-year tenure on council. He also cited the many improvements he helped spearhead, including the Plaza Street bike lanes and the sidewalk-widening project on King Street.
While Burk refused to become mayor because she did not want to create an incumbency for the town-elected position, Butler believes his current experience will help him serve Leesburg.
“There are advantages to running as an incumbent,” Butler said. “I hope that residents will see how they perceive me as mayor, and if they perceive me as doing a good job, then they’ll continue to ask me to do the job.”
When asked why he did not announce his mayoral bid closer to Burk’s announcement and to Leesburg’s Democratic caucus, he said that the caucus’s date during spring break and lack of provision for absentee ballots would prevent many from voting. He wanted the date moved, so he “declined to participate,” he said. If he does not get the Democratic endorsement, he will not seek an endorsement from the Republican Party.
Burk, also a Democrat, believes that Butler has not done enough during his tenure as mayor, and she hopes that her platform of government transparency will set her apart.
"I feel very strongly that there are some important things that we need to work on in the town," she told the Times-Mirror. "He's going to have to do a lot more than get four votes to become mayor this time."
Following are Butler’s complete comments:
Today, I’m announcing my candidacy for Mayor of Leesburg.
In my eight years on Council serving the town, we’ve accomplished a lot. It takes a willingness and ability to get things done. You do this through working with the town staff, our boards and commissions, and the public; and with all members of council, regardless of what side of the aisle they may be on. As I’ve said, you never know where the four votes will come from.
It’s important to focus on improving quality of life for all of our residents, including:
-New development where it makes sense
-Advocating for arts, entertainment, and dining
-Implementing multi-mode transportation improvements, that is, automobiles as well as bicycles and pedestrians
-Improving downtown, which is a key element of what residents say they like about Leesburg
We now have a council room in town hall, mayor’s hours, and we’ve had a state of the town address, all improvements worthy of the largest town in Virginia. I hope to continue this path towards maturing us a town. I’m honored to be Leesburg’s mayor, and I look forward to continuing in 2017 and beyond.
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