Burlington, Vermont is one of the most friendly cities in the nation to third parties. On “Town Meeting Day,” which will be March 3rd this year, citizens will gather and elect local officials with instant runoff voting. Their choices include independents, Burlington Greens, Democrats, Republicans, and Progressives.
While there will be more than just the City Council at stake (and there will be elections throughout Vermont), tonight I will only be covering the Burlington City Council for the sake of time. There are seven wards that are represented on the city council that are being contested in March,, and the city council currently has six Democrats, three Republicans, three Progressives, and two independents.
The people in the running (from Burlington Free Press):
Ward 1: Incumbent Sharon Bushor, independent; Jerri Kohl, Green Party.
Ward 2: No incumbent. Gregory Knops, Green Party; Emma Mulvaney-Stanak, Progressive; Nicole Pelletier, Democrat.
Ward 3: No incumbent. David Cain, Democrat; Marrisa Caldwell, Progressive; Steve Ekberg, Green Party.
Ward 4: No incumbent. Eleanor Briggs Kenworthy, Republican; Nancy Kaplan, Democrat.
Ward 5: Lisa Ann Oberbrunner, Green Party; incumbent Joan Shannon, Democrat.
Ward 6: No incumbent. Mary Kehoe, Democrat; Kim Mason, Green Party.
Ward 7: No incumbent. Ellie Blais, independent; Vincent Dober, Republican; Eli Lesser-Goldsmith, Democrat.
Ward 1 is guaranteed to be represented by an independent or minor party member – either independent incumbent Sharon Bushor or her challenger, Jerri Kohl of the Burlington Green Party. In Ward 3, the previous council member was a Progressive who moved on to the State Senate. His seat is being contested by a Progressive, a Green, and a Democrat.
The President of the council, a Republican, is leaving his seat to run for mayor. Although he represented Ward 4, that does not mean that the new Ward 4 council member will be the new President. The council elects their own President.