This past weekend, Leesburg District Democrats met downtown to hear from no fewer than five candidates running for various offices in 2010. Both Richard Anthony and Jeff Barnett were there to solicit the support of Leesburg Democrats in their bids for the Democratic nomination to run against Frank Wolf in November. They spoke eloquently about the need for jobs, business growth and preservation of our quality of life and environment.
Three progressive candidates for Leesburg Town Council (vote May 4th!) were also there to seek support for their bid to serve the Town. Town Council elections are non-partisan, so none of the three who came to the meeting were formally running as Democrats, but all of them were interested in support of active members of the Leesburg community, and the Democratic District meeting was an opportunity to engage neighbors in discussions of issues that are important to the town.
Marty Martinez is currently on Council and is running for re-election. He has spent eight years advocating for his neighbors and working across ideological lines on Council to provide effective, fiscally-wise leadership. Only Mayor Umstattd has a longer tenure on Council than Marty, which goes to show how much turnover there has been on Council over the past few elections. Marty is the only candidate running who is also a full member of the LCDC.
On a personal note, I have known and worked with Marty on Town issues and Democratic politics for the past four years, and have found him to be a dedicated and conscientious public servant. He spends his own time, money and energy making sure that our kids have a great place to grow up and is one of the strongest voices for the whole of Leesburg on Council. I'll be campaigning for Marty however I can, and look forward to his continued service to Leesburg.
Neely Law has spent the past two years as chair of the Environmental Advisory Commission, and in that role she has been a passionate voice for the trees, streams and open spaces that make Leesburg such an attractive place to raise a family. Neely, however, has spent her time on the EAC working to integrate conservation with business development and growth. There isn't a conflict between the two, and Ms. Law's focus on the EAC is to help businesses grow and develop in a manner consistent with long-term preservation of Leesburg's natural beauty. Neely is running for Council to help make sure that the needs of neighborhoods and businesses are cooperatively reflected in the work done by the Town, even as Leesburg's character is preserved in those efforts.
Ann Robinson is a long-time Leesburg resident and activist. She has served as an organizer for her neighbors in the southwest quadrant of town for many years. At the District meeting on Friday evening, she spoke out for the working families and people of Leesburg, who she believes need more support in the form of things like expanded bus service and bus shelters. She has also been an outspoken opponent of the Southwest Connector Trail, which would impact her neighborhood as it is built. Ann's plans for funding many of her ideas for improving Leesburg (like a pedestrian bridge over the Rt. 15 bypass) are based on suspending spending on that and other parks and trails projects in.
All three Council candidates were warmly received by the democrats in attendance, and the Leesburg District voted to give them our District-level endorsement for Council. I strongly recommend for voting for these three candidates for Council, and hope you will do so on May 4th!