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Two-Term Progressive Councilor Won't Seek Reelection 

Published January 24, 2010 at 8:40 p.m.

Two-term Progressive City Councilor Clarence Davis is not running for reelection, but a familiar face is running in his place.

Davis, who represents Ward 3, decided not to run for reelection so he could spend more time at home, rather than at City Hall until the wee hours of the morning.

Go figure.

Up until just a few weeks ago, Davis publicly said he was more than likely seeking reelection: "The rumors of my pending demise are greatly exaggerated," Davis told Seven Days in November, and again in December. "My plan is to run for re-election pending any unforeseen changes in my life."

Asked again as recently as January 18, and Davis reiterated that his plans were "still the same."

In the past few days, however, Davis told Seven Days, he had a change of heart. "I mulled it over and talked it over at home, and I want to spend a little bit more time with my wife," Davis said.

"For me, personally, one of the things I contemplated when I first ran for office was, 'How long am I going to do this?'" added Davis. "I had decided then that I would serve two terms definitely and maybe a third term. But, I just got married a year ago and would like to spend more time at home, we'd like to start a family of our own, and I don't want to be at City Hall until 2:30 in the morning."

So, who could possibly step in and run for his seat on such short notice? None other than Progressive Emma Mulvaney-Stanak, who, until mid-December, was a Ward 2 city councilor.

"I really feel like it takes a lot to get up to speed on the council, and obviously I could hit the ground running," said Mulvaney-Stanak. "When I resigned, I said this wasn't the end for me and if an opportunity arose I'd consider it. I certainly feel like I have more to offer the council."

She resigned her council seat just eight months after being elected to a two-year term. Why? She bought her first home and it happened to be in Ward 3 — not 2. City charter rules required she resign immediately. Since the vacancy occurred within 90 days of the March election, no special election was held.

That means her seat is up for grabs in March, along with the ward’s other seat, held by Democrat David Berezniak. 

Ward 2 is shaping up to be a key battleground to determine if Democrats will see their largest representation on the city council — and the Progressives their smallest — since the 1980s.

Currently, the Democrats have a majority on the council because they hold seven out of 13 seats. If they can hold those seven seats, and pick up one more, they would have an outright majority on the full, 14-member council, too. That would be a first since the 1980s.

In Ward 2, Berezniak is seeking reelection, and Democrat Bram Kranichfeld will seek Mulvaney-Stanak's vacated seat. Kranichfeld, 30, is chairman of the Burlington Electric Commission and a deputy state's attorney.

On the Progressive side, Jonathan Leavitt. a school social worker and community activist, is challenging Berezniak while Maxwell Tracy, a recent UVM grad and labor activist, will square off against Kranichfeld.

When Democrats caucused this past week, they did not nominate someone to run for the Ward 3 seat. However, someone only needs to submit a petition with 30 signatures to City Hall by tomorrow at 5 p.m. to get on the ballot.

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About The Author

Shay Totten

Shay Totten

Shay Totten wrote "Fair Game," a weekly political column, from April 2008-December 2011.

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