Independent Dieng running for Burlington mayor
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Independent Burlington City Councilor Ali Dieng has officially thrown his hat in the ring for mayor. Dieng launched his mayoral campaign Monday afternoon.
Dieng says if elected, he plans to prioritize the pandemic, police reform and racism.
He says he does not support defunding or abolishing the city’s police force but he wants to implement alternatives to police responding to nonviolent, noncriminal calls, such as sending social workers or health professionals instead.
“It’s not that we should use the police for anything we want to solve. It’s not the way. But at the same time, I would want to make sure that based on our population, based on being a college city, I would want to make sure that also we have the police and also the police have the appropriate staffing level they need to make sure that they keep everyone safe,” Dieng said.
Dieng says regarding the pandemic, he would create a new position of public health emergency management. He says this person would advise his administration and provide public updates on the city’s response to battling COVID.
Dieng has served on the City Council for three years, representing Ward 7.
He immigrated to the U.S. from Africa 13 years ago.
If elected, he would be Burlington’s first Black mayor.
And he says he believes he is the best person to address and solve racism in Burlington.
“You cannot solve an issue you don’t understand. How can you solve racism, discrimination if you don’t know how it affects you, how it even feels? Right? I think you have to give those who are affected. You have to empower them. Give them the resources to know exactly what solving this issue means and is going to look like,” Dieng said.
So far, Dieng faces incumbent Democratic Mayor Miro Weinberger and Progressive candidate Max Tracy.
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