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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Longtime commissioner takes the helm as Leesburg’s new mayor

Leesburg Commissioner Elise Dennison

The City of Leesburg has a new mayor.

Longtime Commissioner Elise Dennison, who served as mayor pro tem this past year, was appointed to the top seat by her fellow commissioners on Monday night, replacing John Christian. The Leesburg pastor, who first took office in 2003, had served four terms as mayor, including stints in 2005, 2008 and 2014. He also received a plague thanking him for his service.

Dennison is beginning the final year of her second term. She first took office in 2013 and in 2016 she fended off two opponents to maintain her District 3 seat. She also served as mayor in 2015 and the following year was president of the Lake County chapter of the League of Cities.

Don Van Beck’s wife, Julia, and then-Leesburg Mayor Pro-Tem Elise Dennison prepare in November to unveil a marker memorializing the World II and Korean War veteran.
Leesburg Commissioner Jay Hurley

This will mark Dennison’s final year on the commission because of term limits that were approved by voters in 2012. At the final commission meeting of 2019, she made it clear that she’s looking forward to accomplishing many goals this year and vowed to work hard to continue to improve the City of Leesburg in a variety of ways.

In November, Dennison played a large role in a ceremony to honor late veterans advocate Don Van Beck, who died in 2018 at the age of 90. Van Beck was memorialized with a Memorial Walk in his name at the Veterans Memorial Park in Leesburg. Dennison made a presentation to Van Beck’s wife, Julia, and together they unveiled the marker paying tribute to the former World War II and Korean War veteran.

On Monday night, commissioners also appointed Jay Hurley as mayor pro tem. Hurley first took office in 2013 and served as mayor three years later. He will fill in for Dennison if she’s not available and also will be serving his final year on the commission because of the term limit amendment.

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