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January 30, 2013

Burlington City Council Election to Feature Five Contested Races

EmilyLeeBurlington voters will see five contested city council races this March — several of which could turn out to be competitive. 

In the New North End, Democrat Tom Ayres and Republican Jim Robert will duke it out for a Ward 7 seat being vacated by Republican Councilor Vince Dober. Though the district tends to be the most conservative in the city, Ayres only narrowly lost a race last year to a well known incumbent Republican, Paul Decelles.

The Old North End will also have a contested election for an open seat. Former Progressive city councilor Jane Knodell was quick to jump into the race last week after Democratic Councilor Bram Kranichfeld announced his plans to step down from his Ward 2 seat at the end of his term.

On Monday, the day petitions to run were due at City Hall, Democrats announced their own candidate: neighborhood activist and local banker Emily Lee (pictured), a vice president at the downtown Merrill Lynch branch. The cofounder of the West Hill Neighborhood Association says she's particularly focused on housing.

"I've been really active here in the neighborhood and my feeling was we have a great deal of momentum going to improve Ward 2," she said. "I think we need more housing options — more housing built, so we have choices of where to live."

Democrats are also fielding a candidate, Tom Derenthal, for the Ward 1 seat held by independent Councilor Sharon Bushor for nearly 26 years

Last week we reported that Rep. Kurt Wright (R-Burlington), a former city councilor and 2012 mayoral candidate, was interested in returning to the council if his friend and former campaign manager, Councilor Dave Hartnett (D-Ward 4), chose not to run for reelection. As it turns out, Hartnett is in — and Wright is out.

"This was always about whether Dave wanted to run for the seat or not," Wright said over the weekend. "Dave had let a number of us know he did not want to run again, up until just recently."

Wright said he was fine with sitting it out, but was bummed to learn about it in the Burlington Free Press last week.

"It's fine that he decided to run. My only disappointment is to learn about it in the press — for him not to tell me himself," Wright said. "For me, loyalty and friendship is more important than politics every day of the week."


Here's a complete list of city council candidates, as provided by Lori Olberg from the Burlington City Clerk's office. Note: Asterisk denotes incumbent.

Ward 1

Sharon Foley Bushor (I)*

Tom Derenthal (D)

Ward 2

Jane Knodell (P)

Emily Lee (D)

Ward 3

Vince Brennan (P)*

Ronald Ruloff (I)

Ward 4

Dave Hartnett (D)*

Loyal Ploof (L)

Ward 5

Joan Shannon (D)*

Ward 6

Norm Blais (D)*

Ward 7

Tom Ayres (D)

Jim Robert (R)

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