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This is from Emma Mulvaney-Stanak, VPP Chair.
Last Sunday, Mayor Weinberger addressed the Burlington Democratic Caucus and took direct aim at the VPP. He toggled between praising current Progressive Councilors and labeling local Progressives as reactionary and fringe. The Mayor also declared Progressives as anti-environment and anti-worker. He went on to claim credit for recent pro-environment and pro-worker efforts in the city, yet neglected to note that virtually all these efforts were started by Progressives. Progressives initiated Burlingtons move towards 100% renewable energy by positioning BED to purchase the Winooski hydro plant and by creating the McNeil plant. Progressives pushed recent pro-worker efforts such as supporting the Howard Center workers and maintaining livable wage standards at the airport. Weinberger opposed both measures. Clearly, the Mayors effort to give Democrats credit for Burlingtons successes ignores 30 years of Progressive leadership.
Attacking the Progressive Party and labeling the Party as fringe based on city council endorsements represents the Mayors poor knowledge of who our council candidates are and why they are running. Progressive endorsed candidates include: City Council President Jane Knodell, a champion of the recent development projects and many neighborhood revitalization projects, Charles Winkleman, an early educator and dedicated activist looking to address affordability issues for young people in Burlington, and Charles Simpson, an academic and champion of public transportation and strengthening neighborhood communities.
There are various opinions on the development project within the Progressive Party. While Winkleman and Simpson disagreed with aspects of the mall project, they should not be labeled reactionary by our Mayor. These candidates are running on more than one issue. Disagreement and discourse is healthy in a democracy and elected leaders should expect to be challenged. It comes with the territory. Its the job of leaders to go high in these moments. The Mayor went low.