When we think of the type of person we want to serve on our town council, one of the most important traits is their honesty in both their actions and being intellectually honest with their approach to issues. We want a person that is a representative of all of the people, not a champion of a special interest group or a narrow perspective, someone with a balanced view. We want someone that understands constituent relations, that will attend all the meetings as well as being ready to roll up their sleeves reading voluminous material in preparation for meetings.
Ideally, the primary motivation should be to serve the public interests. If this person is agenda-driven, power-hungry or captive to special interest agendas, they will not perform their duties with integrity and with a broader vision of what is in the interests of the overall town now and in the future.
Finally, we want someone with experience in their work and civic life that can do the job. Does this person have the knowledge of the position and the issues to be an effective councilperson?
Cela Burge, our newly elected councilperson has all of the above qualities. Burge brings a plethora of experience, from both the public and private sectors. She has served as Town Manager for six years and has over a decade of experience as an attorney. Along with her experience as town manager, she is a former planner, marketing director, director of economic development and tourism and manager of operations. Burge holds degrees in community development and regional planning from Concord College in addition to having earned a law degree from Regent University’s School of Law in 2005. She currently serves as attorney for Accomack County and has served the towns of Onley, Tangier, and Chincoteague and for the Eastern Shore of Virginia 911 Commission.
On a personal note, I have known Cela for many years. I first met her when my kids were toddlers and they attended Friday Night Live at the Cape Charles Baptist Church. The kids loved her.
The town has had its ups and downs over the last few years, but the election of Cela tends to make the future look brighter. The town, thanks to the work and dedication of folks like Andy Buchholz, Tammy Holloway, and Michelle Gorman, and all those that volunteer for our Main Street community development project, is looking forward. We have great boards, a hard working Planning Commission, and an excellent Town Manager–completing the puzzle with Cela Burge on Council, Cape Charles is primed to go to the next level.
The Mirror would like to thank Joan Natali and Herb Thom for running positive campaigns. They were both great candidates who we hope will run again in the future.