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Mayoral candidates discuss public safety following democratic caucus vote

By Lily Sakaniwa

Posted: Dec 12, 2023 / 04:20 PM EST

Burlington, VT – Burlington is on the brink of change. In March of next year, the city will elect its first new mayor in 12 years.

“Representation truly matters,” says progressive candidate Emma Mulvaney-Stanak. “Not only would I be the first female mayor, I would be the first out, queer, lesbian mayor of the city of Burlington.”

Democratic candidate Joan Shannon also celebrates the possibility of being the first female mayor.

“Honestly, it’s been a long time coming,” says Shannon.

Both candidates have vast experience serving Burlington. Shannon has been on the city council since 2002, including a three-year term as council president. She sees public safety as a key issue.

“We made grave mistakes back in 2020 that left us ill-prepared to deal with what is really a national trend,” says Shannon.

Shannon vocally opposed the vote to defund the Burlington police back in 2020 and, if elected, plans to prioritize increasing their funding and personnel.

Mulvaney-Stanak also served on the council. She also plans to improve public safety but has a different way of doing it.

“Police absolutely have a role in our community safety response, but we have to strategically use them and have a right size police department for the city of Burlington,” She says. “Not only is that better economically in terms of stewarding public funds in a responsible way, but it also sends the right professional for the right kind of call.”

Mulvaney-Stanak wants to use current police resources more strategically. She plans to identify what are referred to as chronic safety hotspots and develop community policing practices that will rebuild safety and trust.


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