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Burlington City Council President Max Tracy discusses his decision not to seek reelection

Max Tracy
Max for Mayor
Burlington City Council President Max Tracy

Burlington, Vermont city elections are on Town Meeting Day in March and eight of the city council's 12 seats will go before voters. Thursday night, Progressive City Council President Max Tracy announced he will not run for re-election this year. He tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley that it is becoming increasingly difficult to balance his council responsibilities with the needs of his full-time job.

It's a really difficult decision and one that I don't take lightly. I absolutely have loved serving on the city council. It's been one of the great honors of my life to be able to serve my community in this way. But the reality is that these roles are ones that have to be split with a full time job. Although some people think that city council's a full time job it isn't and pretty much everybody who serves in those roles has to also have a job at the same time and that presents some real challenges. In my particular case it has become really challenging because I'm also a field organizer for the nurses and techs’ union at UVMMC (University of Vermont Medical Center). And with all of the challenges that the pandemic has brought for health care workers that's meant that the work has become that much more intense. So the combined effects that the pandemic has had both on the increased demands of city council as well as my day job has made it increasingly challenging to do either role justice. And with contract negotiations set to start for the nurses this spring I really feel as though it's the right move for me to take a step back from the council right at this time in order to be able to really do my job justice.

Max, some of the other counselors have expressed concerns about the temper of the meetings, especially during the public comment periods, and sometimes even beyond the public comment periods. Has that been a factor in your decision at all?

You know it's something that I've taken into account. It certainly made it more difficult to participate and to serve in this role. But that wasn't ultimately the deciding factor for me.

Max, you’ve spent nearly a decade on the city council. You’ve spent two years as City Council President. What would you, as you look back, say your key accomplishments have been?

In terms of the accomplishments there's so many situations where I've been fortunate to work with constituents on neighborhood scale issues, you know, whether it's getting sidewalks fixed. There's so many of those kind of nuts and bolts issues that I've dealt with over the years that I'm proud of. There's also been a number of issues where I think we've provided some really meaningful resistance to the direction that the mayor's wanted to go. Whether it was on the failed mall project, the F 35’s and the continued impact that they're having on our community, working on providing a better outcome for the resolution of the Burlington Telecom situation. And then also now in more recent years working on transforming public safety. So there's been a lot of different areas where we've had some incredibly impactful policy decisions. Haven't won every one of those. But I think that we've provided some really important pushback in many cases, and then in others really have been able to, at least in recent years and specifically with public safety, make some meaningful shifts in our community to really transform how our institutions function.

Burlington Progressive City Council President Max Tracy ran for mayor in 2021 and lost to incumbent Democratic Mayor Miro Weinberger by 129 votes.

Extended conversation with Burlington City Council President Max Tracy

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