Burkhead mayor-elect of Bethesda
BETHESDA — Village voters selected Samantha Burkhead as the next mayor of Bethesda, with 133 votes over Councilwoman Linda Reeves’ 100 and Councilwoman Jordan Castello’s 39.
A total 277 of Bethesda’s 798 registered voters, or 34.71 percent, cast their ballots, according to unofficial vote totals from the Belmont County Board of Elections on Tuesday.
“I am excited to have the support of so many people in Bethesda, and I will work hard to bring the community together,” Burkhead said in an email after hearing the result. “I just want to thank everyone who turned up to vote, whether for me or for others, you are taking a stand in your community and that’s the type of commitment that can do great things in our village. I look forward to the future and the positive changes that we can all make over the next four years.”
This is Burkhead’s first term in elected office. She is an active member of the park board. A focus of her campaign has been greater transparency and resident involvement in the local government. She also has pledged to donate $200 of the mayor’s $750 monthly pay back to the community each month.
Burkhead is also in favor of budgeting gas and oil money and saving funds for future needs.
A significant issue in the community is the future of law enforcement, with council not having filled the role of police chief after members twice refrained from following the recommendation of outgoing Mayor Martin Lucas to promote Patrolman Pete Busack to the position permanently after he held it for an interim period.
Regarding the police department, Burkhead said she would like to see more coverage in Bethesda during morning and afternoon school bus routes. She has said she would also try to hire more part-time officers for more weekend and evening coverage.