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Winooski, Vermont’s Deputy Mayor announces he will run for Lieutenant Governor

Vermont Statehouse (file)
Pat Bradley
Vermont Statehouse (file)

The race for Vermont lieutenant governor, elected separately from the governor, is taking shape. On Thursday, the deputy mayor of Winooski announced his campaign for the state’s second-highest office.

Democrat Thomas Renner, Deputy Mayor of Winooski, is a member of the Vermont Professionals of Color Network and is openly gay. First elected to the Winooski City Council in 2022, Renner says this is the right moment to run for statewide office.

“I’ve dedicated my life to service,” says Renner. “When I graduated from UVM I really wanted to make a difference for Vermonters and for the country. So I started working for Senator Leahy and my service began there and it’s continued ever since. And I felt like this was the right moment to run and to try to do more good for more Vermonters. And I’m excited to bring the type of political approach that I’ve taken as a city councilor, as deputy mayor and before then working for Senator Leahy and for Congresswoman Becca Balint of building relationships and bringing people together at the table and try to help as many people as possible.”

Renner has been very active in the BIPOC and LGBTQIA community. He says the Lieutenant Governor can give a voice to those who feel unheard and he can message the needs of Vermonters at the highest levels.

"To me it’s really just about Vermont and what my vision is and where I think that the state is heading which is wanting younger and more diverse leadership and people who understand the varied issues that they’re dealing with,” asserts Renner. “You know when I speak to Vermonters and they talk to me about they didn’t raise their heat as much this winter or have cut back on some of those little treats in the grocery store. I can look at them and I say I have these same conversations at my kitchen table and that’s something that they don’t expect. I believe there might be a perception that being deputy mayor maybe you know you don’t have those types of concerns. But I do and I think that’s something that resonates with people. And I’m excited to continue those conversations and bring that understanding to the Statehouse.”

Democrat/Progressive David Zuckerman is the current Lieutenant Governor. He announced on May 2nd that he would seek his fourth nonsequential term. Zuckerman held the office from 2017 until 2021. He then unsuccessfully ran for governor. In the following election Zuckerman won back the lieutenant governor’s seat and is again seeking reelection.

“I felt I could do more as Lieutenant Governor, continuing to organize and speak out on issues as I travel the state particularly around climate as well as economic challenges especially affordable housing,” says Zuckerman. “And then the issue of democracy as a whole. As the presiding officer of the Senate, making sure everybody’s voices are at the table, that’s something I deeply cherish and value. And part of being Lieutenant Governor or part of being patriotic, frankly, is supporting the system wholeheartedly regardless of whether one always gets the outcome you want. And that’s something that’s being stress tested across our country right now and I think it’s important as Lieutenant Governor to re-instill faith in the way the system’s supposed to work.”

Zuckerman plans to run in the Democratic primary and seek the Progressive Party nomination. He feels confident as Renner enters the race to challenge him.

“Well I look forward to hearing what his priorities are and why or how he thinks he’ll do the job either differently or better than I have and then I’ll respond to some of those things,” Zuckerman says. “But as a whole I think my track record across the state, both on issues and through many rigorous campaigns, will hopefully stand for itself and voters in August and then hopefully again voters in September, or excuse me November, will stand behind me and the work I’ve done and the work I’ll continue to do.”

Vermont’s statewide major party primary is August 13th.

Former Vermont Republican Party chair Gregory Thayer, who ran for Lieutenant Governor in 2022, published a column in the Vermont Daily Chronicle on May 1st announcing that he is also running for the seat.

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