A look at the candidates for Burlington’s mayoral race
By Jackson Stoever
Online & Video Editor
In the coming weeks, the city of Burlington will vote for a mayor. Incumbent Mayor Miro Weinberger is opposed by Progressive city counselor Max Tracy, Independent city counselor Ali Dieng and Independent Patrick White for the leadership role in the Vermont city.
In office since 2012, Mayor Weinberger aims to continue his role and will further his abilities to combat COVID-19 and lead Burlington into an economy and community that is, as his website claims, “stronger, more racially just, greener and more affordable” than the city had before the pandemic began. Under Weinberger’s leadership, Burlington became the first city in the country to be powered with 100% renewably sourced energy and plans to become a net zero energy city within the next 10-15 years. His website claims that with 1,300 new homes built in the city and millions of taxpayer dollars saved across the span of nine years, there is expectation to deliver again and an urgency that now, true leadership is important, more than ever before.
On the city council since 2012, Max Tracy currently serves as Field Organizer for the Nurse’s Union at the University of Vermont Medical Center where he works with front-line health care workers to assure that they have all that they need to treat patients.
“I was focused on doing good in this role, especially during the pandemic, and have long felt Burlington needs new leadership” Tracy said. With the pandemic still surging, Tracy added he intends on pushing hazard pay, no City employee layoffs, a universal mask distribution program and a Hunger Action Plan to combat the virus. According to his website, if elected, Tracy promises to eradicate systemic racism that spans across city government and institutions. By expanding BIPOC business, land and home ownership, Tracy intends on cultural and economic empowerment for BIPOC residents in Burlington.
In addition to his role as city counselor, Ali Dieng is the family outreach coordinator for the Burlington School District, in which he aids families in filling out paperwork and processes to access after-school programs for their children. For eight years, Dieng has worked for Burlington Kids and has been an involved community member and a board member at the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity. On his website, it is stated that Dieng believes that children are the greatest resource for the future and will fight for all Burlington children to have access to safe schools, a quality education and an opportunity to strive for higher education, no matter their background. According to the same source, Burlington has allocated $90,000 a year to support low-barrier housing, however, under Dieng’s leadership, he will establish a ‘tiny home village’ program for the homeless and those that are displaced.
As a life-long Vermonter, Patrick White uses his free time to get out and utilize everything Burlington has to offer. On his website, White calls for a police reform and aims to abolish the “us vs. them” mentality on both sides. He then states that these officers are members of the community and the general public of Burlington should feel safe with trained law enforcement officers. Offering to lead by accountability, White also plans to bring attention to Lake Champlain and the authorized dumping of untreated sewage into the waters. Demanding a change, White promises to bring anyone who has allowed this to happen to task, if he is elected. The candidate compares his feelings toward this issue with how he feels about all city government. White’s goal is to reduce the overall cost of running a business in Burlington as this is a necessary action to relieve small businesses and their employees. Mayor Weinberger urges registration for polling at the town hall meeting on March 2nd. Students with Vermont citizenship can register to vote by visiting https://mvp.vermont.gov/.