Councilwoman Suzanne Fox was voted Leesburg's next vice mayor Tuesday night in a move aimed at increasing bipartisanship on the new Town Council.
"Now is the time to build bridges," Councilman Ron Campbell said when he nominated Fox for the position. "If you continue to do the same things and have the same voices in play, you get the same outcomes " [Fox] has the desire to build these bridges."
The 4-3 winning vote was the second nomination of the night. Councilman Ken Reid first nominated Councilman Tom Dunn for the position, but only Reid and Dunn voted in favor of the motion. Mayor Kelly Burk nominated Councilman Fernando Martinez, but Fox won a majority first.
Campbell, Reid, Fox and interim Councilman Hugh Forsythe made up the needed majority vote.
For Fox, the appointment came as something of a surprise. Appointed in 2014, she has served for a shorter time than either Martinez or Dunn.
"I really didn't expect the position," Fox told the Times-Mirror after the meeting. "I feel really humbled and privileged."
Campbell said that he selected Fox because of her history of building partnerships while still standing by her values, which he believes will blaze the trail for a much more collaborative council.
Though the Leesburg Town Council is officially nonpartisan, council candidates usually get an endorsement from a local political party, which has previously led to political bickering inside and outside of meetings. The current council is balanced in favor of Republican-backed candidates, including Fox, while Mayor Burk serves as one of the three Democrat-endorsed candidates.
Fox said she's excited about working with Burk and encouraging open, friendly communication among the council members: "I think the mayor has already set a good tone". I think we will work well together."
As vice mayor, Fox said she hopes to work on three primary issues: keeping property taxes low, dealing with Leesburg's growing transportation issues and cutting down on drug use.