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Burlington Races For Town Meeting Day Clarified As Parties Endorse Candidates

The 2021 Burlington Town Meeting Day election is taking shape as Progressives and Democrats have now chosen their candidates for mayor and city council seats.

Last week the Burlington Progressive party held a virtual caucus to choose candidates in the March 2nd Town Meeting Day city races. On Saturday, they held another virtual meeting to launch the mayoral campaign and embrace what they perceive as a high level of support for their policies. 

The theme of Saturday’s Progressive meeting was “Together We Win on March 2nd.” It brought together party leaders and the candidates who had sought the mayoral endorsement for a virtual unity rally.  Brian Pine, who lost the endorsement by 156 votes, said he immediately offered Max Tracy his support.  “While we may have differences in the content and approach of our campaigns we share more values in common than those issues that may divide us.”

Progressive mayoral candidate Tracy said the Democratic Mayor Miro Weinberger has failed on a number of issues.  “I think we see that pretty clearly in the way that he’s handled the police scandals. That’s created a sense of mistrust within the community and has exacerbated and has contributed to the racial reckoning that we’ve had as a city. And I think that we also see this emphasis on big development and people in the community are done with it. They are done with it because we have a hole in the ground and we have a mayor who hasn’t given us a way out. I also feel that there’s just a desire and a hunger for us to transform how we do public outreach, how we involve people in this city that will translate to a victory in March.”

Former city councilor and current Vermont House member Selene Colburn noted this caucus was their largest ever with more than 1,400 participants.  “This is really a bit of a turning point for the Vermont Progressive Party. We’ve never had a contested caucus or primary with two long-time experienced Progressives before. Both the Progressive Party and the city of Burlington have a choice this year that really can truly move us forward in a more inclusive, more equitable way.”

On Sunday afternoon, Burlington Democrats gathered virtually to hold their Town Meeting Day nominating caucus and nominated Weinberger for a fourth three-year term. Weinberger pointed to a series of successes over his nine years in office and criticized a shift in the city’s Progressive Party.  “Over the coming weeks I will lay out a series of critical plans. We will detail how the city intends to continue to lead a robust, racially just multiyear recovery with the same kind of energy, innovation and resources that we have brought to fighting the pandemic.  The voters will face a very clear choice. As the Democratic Party has been establishing itself, both nationally and locally, as a party committed to helping people through policy and progress that are based in science, data and expertise, today’s Burlington Progressive Party has been moving in a different rigid ideological direction. To repeat the mistakes of the past amidst the pandemic and deep recession would be disastrous. Let’s not let that happen.”

Weinberger’s nomination was unchallenged and he received the party endorsement.

Four city council seats will be decided on Town Meeting Day.  In the North District Democrat Franklin Paulino chose not to run for re-election. Both the Progressives and Democrats have endorsed Kienan Christiansen.