|First elected in May 2006, Purcellville Mayor Bob Lazaro is often viewed as a moderate and efficient policymaker, sometimes flaring tempers from both ends of the political spectrum. Courtesy Photo |
Purcellville Mayor Bob Lazaro announced Feb. 24 he won't seek a fifth term in this May's election, citing his strong belief in term limits as the primary reason.
“As a student of political science [and] public administration I have come to the personal conclusion that term limits are necessary in government and as a leader I have the obligation to lead by example,” Mr. Lazaro, elected in nonpartisan contests, said in a prepared statement.
First elected in May 2006, Mr. Lazaro is viewed by many of his constituents and those in the political realm as a moderate and efficient policymaker, occasionally flaring tempers from both ends of the ideological spectrum.
The town figurehead has been a sought-after endorsement for both Republican and Democratic candidates; those he's supported include Republican Congressman Frank Wolf and Democrats Terry McAuliffe, now governor, and Mary Daniel, who lost a local House of Delegates contest in 2013.
Mr. Lazaro, who last year labeled himself a "lifelong Republican," made headlines in early 2013 by joining the Michael Bloomberg-led group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, setting off criticism from vocal gun rights advocates.
“In the wake of the shooting in Newtown, and as a father and as an uncle, signing on to this was a no-brainer,” Lazaro said at the time.
And for some on the left, Mr. Lazaro has been to blame for much of the rural western Loudoun town's development and increased congestion. Yet, according to the mayor, Purcellville has protected more property through conservation easement than any town in the commonwealth during his term -- nearly 1,500 acres, including Fireman's Field, “which has been protected forever and renovated,” Lazaro said.
Additional accomplishments Lazaro noted from his tenure include: holding the line or cutting town property taxes for six out of seven years and doubling the town's “Rainy Day fund”; doubling access to water resources, thus eliminating mandatory water restrictions; and maintaining a Triple A bond rating, the smallest municipality in Virginia to do so.
"I have been honored to serve the residents of the community I love," Mr. Lazaro said. "It has been an outstanding and rewarding experience. I am deeply grateful for the trust you have put in me to successfully address many critical issues we as a community have faced. Thank you for your prayers, words of encouragement and support."
Mr. Lazaro also represents Purcellville as vice chairman of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, co-chairman of the Virginia Municipal League's Legislative Committee and as a member of the League's Environmental Quality Committee, which he previously chaired.
As for future plans, Mr. Lazaro noted in his announcement, "stay tuned."
Last week, Purcellville's vice mayor, Keith Melton, announced his candidacy for the May 6 mayoral election. Town resident Kwasi Fraser has also announced a bid.