Burlington Mayor Kiss won't seek re-election - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Burlington Mayor Kiss won't seek re-election

Mayor Bob Kiss Mayor Bob Kiss

Burlington, Vermont - November 30, 2011

Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss stopped by radio station WVMT's morning show Wednesday to make a long-awaited announcement.

"From a personal perspective this is a good time for me to step down as mayor and let the process elect the next as city of Burlington," said Kiss, P-Burlington.

The Progressive Party chair says Kiss' decision is welcome news; even his own party doesn't support him anymore. The mayor has faced harsh criticism for his handling of Burlington Telecom and the city's finances.

"I think a lot of Progressives are grateful that the mayor has decided not to run for a third term. I think it helps us to move on," said Elijah Bergman of the Burlington Progressive Party.

With Kiss out of the race, the Progressive vote is up for grabs.

"I know a lot of Progressives are supportive of Tim Ashe, so I think we will know a lot more on December eleventh," Bergman said.

"I think my values are in line with Progressives and I will be seeking votes of those who consider themselves Progressives," Democratic candidate Miro Weinberger said.

Progressive Party chairs say they're supporting Democratic candidate Tim Ashe. Ashe says while he welcomes the support, there's no chance he would run as a Progressive candidate.

"If I do not win support of the Democratic Party, as I stated before I'm out of the race altogether," Ashe said.

Both Ashe and Weinberger say Mayor Kiss made the right decision in stepping down. People we spoke with Wednesday couldn't agree more.

"He's really made a mess of the office of mayor and I think a change in administration will be a positive thing for Burlington," said Christopher Hill of Burlington.

"I think it's a responsible decision by the mayor. I think a lot of people will understand the pressure he's been under and see this as his way of moving the city forward," said Bill Dodge of Burlington.

Despite comments like that, Kiss says his six years were a success.

"In a lot of respects what's good about Burlington is we're resilient enough to solve problems, it makes our city different than a lot of cities, we've been able to do that," Kiss said.

Both Weinberger and Ashe say the less divided the vote the better. Each hopes to win the full support of the Progressive Party and run in a two-candidate race against Republican candidate Kurt Wright. Whether it will be a two-person race is difficult to determine. New independent or Progressive candidates could decide to run any time during the election process.

As for his future, Mayor Kiss said he wants to focus on his personal life for awhile, but that running for a state Senate seat isn't out of the question.

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