Voters will decide local races in Vermont on Town Meeting Day, March 3rd. In Burlington, several candidates have already announced they will run for mayor. One city councilor kicked off his campaign Monday.
Democratic Mayor Miro Weinberger announced on November 10th in an email to supporters that he would seek a fourth three-year term. He will be challenged.
Independent Ward 7 councilor Ali Dieng is running for mayor. Council President Max Tracy and Ward 3’s Brian Pine, both Progressives, are seeking the party nomination for mayor. Pine wanted to formally announce his candidacy at Northgate Apartments but due to COVID restrictions began a virtual event with a video he recorded there. “We’re making this announcement at an especially important local landmark that holds significance for myself, our campaign and I think our entire community. I have a deep personal connection to Northgate going back to the mid-1980s when out-of-state developers were planning to sell the property as condominiums. And we launched a fight to save the homes of over 330 low and moderate income families. Being part of Northgate has taught me so many important lessons about the need to elevate the voices of those who are so often left at the margins of the political process and to chart a bold new direction when our old systems have just failed us.”
Pine first served on the city council from 1991 to 1995. He was again elected to a two-year term in 2018 and was re-elected. Pine said he came of age when the community focused on the needs of low-income residents and those on the margins of society, and that is driving his decision to run for mayor now. “As mayor I will create a Burlington with a proactive agenda for social justice, environmental justice and racial equity and inclusion. I listen to people every day whose lives have been upended by COVID and other recent events and I see opportunities for ways that our city government could be working together better for all of us and to create greater security and certainty into the future.”
During his Zoom announcement, Pine said government works best when the process is completely open and it brings in voices that aren’t normally at the table. “I come at this with a strong background in understanding the financial aspects of city government as well as the governing piece of city government. I have developed and balanced city budgets, city department budgets. I’ve managed staff. I’ve developed programs within the city understanding how to leverage the tools of city government to bring about the changes we need. In a nutshell I bring both the community activism side and the deep compassion that is embodied in the progressive values of this city and in our progressive elected officials as well as the sort of managerial expertise of how to get big ideas into action.”
Pine believes his longevity in social work and government distinguishes him from the other candidates. He doesn’t plan to compare himself to the candidates but rather focus on his background and the philosophy of the Progressive Coalition. “Progressives are about good government guided by underlying values and principles that this community has embraced and shared for the last 40 years and I think this community still feels that way.”
Burlington Progressives will caucus on December 1st to choose their candidates. Pine says he will not run as an independent if he does not secure the nomination party nomination. “My political home has been as a Progressive in Burlington since we were a coalition in the ‘80s and I will honor the outcome of the caucus. I’ve been very clear about that. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Progressive.”
Calls to Progressive mayoral candidate Max Tracy were not returned in time for broadcast.
Pine’s campaign announcement can be viewed here: