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Burlington Mayoral Candidates: Ali Dieng

Published: Feb. 3, 2021 at 6:09 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.

Independent candidate Ali Dieng has a bold and transformative vision for the city of Burlington.

Since he moved to Vermont, he has met every challenge head on and has become a leader in his community.

“I have a vision for the city of Burlington,” Dieng said.

That vision is heavily focused on an inclusive and transparent city government that works for everyone.

Dieng immigrated to the U.S. from West Africa in 2007 and moved to Vermont in 2008. He manages the Burlington School District’s Parent University Program, which helps immigrant families navigate the school system.

He was elected to the City Council representing Ward 7 in the New North End in 2017.

“I had no idea what politics is, but getting into I knew that the system, the way we do things, is not working for everyone,” he said.

Dieng wants to open up City Hall allowing more citizen involvement.

Some of his priorities include creating a commission on aging, addressing homelessness by building tiny homes and having the city and school district collaborate more to lower taxes.

“Burlington is not affordable and I think I want to change the direction we are going,” Dieng said.

He supports more development in the downtown but would ensure the people had a voice in the projects and developers are held accountable.

“I am not a royal leader, I am an inclusive leader,” he said.

Dieng is also focused on addressing racial bias with action, not reaction.

“I do not get swayed because 1,000 people showed up and speak with me,” he said.

He did not vote in favor of the City Council’s racial justice resolution that chopped the police force because he says there was no plan attached to it.

“I think it’s a big mistake, we did a big mistake,” Dieng said.

He proposed an amendment to that resolution, calling for a special task force to examine how to reduce the number of officers but it was shot down, mainly along party lines.

Dieng believes party affiliations are holding the city back and believes an independent leader can make a difference.

“If someone does not step up, political parties will just continue to divide and forget the people that live here,” he said.

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