Burlington Mayoral Candidates: Miro Weinberger
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.
Incumbent Mayor Miro Weinberger, a Democrat, has arguably faced his most challenging term in the last three years, dealing with public safety reform, protests in front of his own home and a pandemic that has hit the downtown hard. But he says he’s the only candidate to get the city back on track.
Proven leadership, delivering on promises and experience: that’s why Weinberger says Burlingtontians should vote for him on Town Meeting Day.
“I think we have delivered a lot for the people of Burlington over the last nine years,” he said.
That includes a reimagined City Hall Park, new life to the waterfront and a rebuild of parts of the bike path. Weinberger also touts the city’s efforts to reduce opioid overdose deaths and the construction of 1,300 new homes in the city.
“I hope all of that is on voters’ mind when they go to the polls in a couple weeks,” Weinberger said.
If elected for another three years, the mayor says rebuilding after the pandemic is the top priority, saying only his leadership will lead to positive economic outcomes and a higher share of federal relief resources.
“This would be a very, I think, challenging time, a very dangerous time for a mayor who’s learning on the job,” he said.
Beyond the pandemic, the mayor has faced criticism from his opponents on the long-stalled CityPlace project leading to an eyesore in the middle of downtown and lost economic opportunity.
“We will deliver on this project,” he said.
Protesters also fought against Weinberger’s decisions on the police force throughout the summer, demonstrating in front of his home and going against his proposals. He supports the protests and says he understands the need for reform and the problematic role law enforcement plays. But he also believes having fewer police officers is not progress and the City Council’s decision to cut officers jeopardizes public safety.
“I think the City Council created in this period, also created a crisis this summer,” he said. “To get public safety right, you need more resources, not less.”
And some feel the mayor cannot be trusted following his handling of the controversy surrounding the city’s former police chief.
“I have acknowledged that if I had the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, there are some elements I would have done differently,” he said.
But Weinberger says accepting mistakes, his commitment to building trust in local government, his public safety plan and moving the city through the pandemic recovery is what voters should have at the forefront of their minds.
“I think it’s a time where proven leadership is particularly important,” Weinberger said.
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