Burlington Mayoral Candidates: Max Tracy

Published: Feb. 2, 2021 at 5:44 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The race to become Burlington’s mayor is nearing its final stretch with Town Meeting Day just a month away. We’re highlighting the mayoral candidates and the top issues of the election.

City Council President Max Tracy, P-Ward 2, was elected in 2012 and became council president last April. He’s gained momentum the last few months following historic protests and the largest turnout the Progressive Party has seen at its virtual caucus.

“This city has given me so much, so I view public service as a really important opportunity to give back to a community that has made me who I am,” Tracy said.

Because of the pandemic, he has yet to lead an in-person meeting at City Hall, but he’s taken the virtual reins and helped push through Progressive policies.

Tracy is a Vermont transplant. He grew up outside Chicago and went to college at the University of Vermont. After graduating in 2005, he never left the area. He works as a field organizer for the Vermont nurses union.

He was elected at a time when Progressives were in rebuild mode. Now, he’s helped transform the party and its priorities, focusing on racial justice and public safety reform.

“In Burlington, we have not done enough to uproot systemic racism,” Tracy said. “People are really angry and looking for fundamental change because they realize that nibbling around the edges with minimal reforms is not going to get us where we need to be.”

He believes the current administration isn’t cutting it.

“What we need is a different approach that embraces more bold and transformative change, as opposed to just more of the same,” he said.

Tracy was also a co-sponsor of the council’s racial justice resolution, which most notably cut the city’s police force by 30%.

Reporter Dom Amato: Do you believe that was the right move?

Max Tracy: Yes, I do believe that was the right move. I think we need to fundamentally shift how we address public safety in our city, and move sworn officer roles into, again, those social support roles.

He stands further left of incumbent Democratic Mayor Miro Weinberger and has big ideas to move the city forward.

“When it comes to addressing the climate crisis, when it comes to addressing the out of control housing prices in the city, when it comes to uprooting systemic racism,” Tracy said.

The last Progressive mayor in Burlington, Bob Kiss, drove voters’ trust into the ground, moving millions of taxpayer funds to prop up Burlington Telecom. But prior to that, Progressive Mayor Peter Clavelle was the longest-tenured mayor of the city.

Tracy believes the city is ready for another Progressive leader.

“We’ve had nine years of the same mayor, and I think more of the same is not going to get us where we need to be,” he said.

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