The Burlington city races are gearing up now that the Democrats and Progressives have chosen their slate of candidates for March’s election. A key race is for mayor, with the incumbent facing a former city employee.
Burlington city Democrats held their caucus to choose candidates for mayor and city council on Sunday. Incumbent Mayor Miro Weinberger was unanimously endorsed to seek a second three-year term. “I think we’ve really made great progress with respect to our city’s finances. I think we’ve made great progress getting city projects moving again all over the city, getting our parks in better shape. And I think we restored some trust in city hall and our ability to help lead the community forward.”
Burlington’s incumbent mayor faces Progressive Steve Goodkind, retired director of the city's Public Works Department, who received his party's endorsement to seek the office. “I have five basic concepts that I’m running on. I think city government’s primary focus has to be on our neighborhoods and our communities in Burlington. I want to make sure they’re safe, they’re affordable, we have good public facilities, good schools. I think city government in Burlington needs to be completely revamped. It’s got a Byzantine type of structure. The next one is development. We have a developer turned mayor turned developer. I would try to develop jobs for Burlington. Rather than develop bricks and mortar, how about jobs?”
Weinberger says during his tenure, the airport bond rating adjustment and the Burlington Telecom settlement have improved the city’s credit rating and will save city residents money. He says he can continue to move the city forward. “The other choice on the ballot would be a return to some of the very leadership that created the problems that we’re just now emerging from. From my perspective, the overwhelming number of Burlingtonians came out and supported this direction through the PlanBtv process, through votes on Town Meeting Day to redevelop the waterfront - 70 percent of Burlingtonians. I don’t agree we should turn our back on this kind of progress.”
Middlebury College Political Science Chair Bert Johnson expects the direction of development in Burlington to be the major issue in the campaign. “Goodkind seems to be positioning himself to be much more cautious on development than Weinberger is. And of course Weinberger as a developer prior to the time he became mayor has hitched his cart to development in Burlington. So we’ve seen numerous development proposals, including the mall on Church Street and the Moran Plant. Weinberger continues to try to get those off the ground and get the fianaces in order in the city of Burlington.”
No Republican candidate has yet come forward in the mayoral race.
Voters will choose on Town Meeting Day on March 3.