In spite of an insanely long caucus this past Sunday, our work as Burlington Democrats isn’t quite finished. We’ll be holding one last final ballot sometime in the next several weeks to select a Mayoral nominee for the general election. The choice is between two excellent candidates, but I’ll be attending a press conference at 1:15 today in Contois Auditorium to announce my support for Miro. Don’t expect everyone to agree, of course — there are passionate feelings on all sides of this race — but I thought I’d share my thoughts with you all first, as in everything. — PB
Endorsement of Miro Weinberger
Sen. Philip Baruth
Let’s face facts: the Democratic Party in Vermont has a very, very deep bench. It’s not unusual at all for us to field four or five truly excellent candidates in the same primary. We are the party of Choice, and given the choice, we prefer lots and lots of choice. And after an historic 6-hour caucus last Sunday, we still have one final choice to make.
Both Miro Weinberger and Tim Ashe are young, energetic and capable. Both have extensive experience in municipal planning and building. I’ve known both for years, and I think of both as friends and colleagues.
But watching the mayoral race unfold, I’ve been deeply impressed by Miro’s ability to reach out and build relationships – with his supporters, and with his opponents and their supporters. He is a gifted leader, and one destined for great things because he inspires loyalty by demonstrating loyalty to others.
Miro came into the race with a specific financial plan for the city, a credible, workable plan, and given that our credit rating has taken a beating – and may take another in the near future – I found that plan reassuring. His campaign has been a model of organization and drive and competence. It will be a very powerful team to bring into the general election.
And in this particular mayoral race, in this particular year, Miro Weinberger brings one final absolutely crucial advantage into a head-to-head match-up with his Republican opponent: Miro can challenge Kurt Wright directly on Burlington Telecom – far and away the number one issue in this race.
Only Miro can point out what Kurt would prefer to have forgotten: that as Council President and a member of the city’s Finance Committee, Kurt Wright was very much present and voting when the dream of Burlington Telecom turned into a fiscal nightmare.
That’s a record that must be challenged. I was on the schoolboard when Burlington Telecom’s devaluation suddenly ripped a half-million dollar hole in our very carefully crafted budget. Miro has seen a similar disastrous ripple effect as head of the Airport Commission. And our Democratic nominee must be someone who can press that challenge, someone who offers a clean break with the decision-making that allowed the BT debacle to unfold.
Everyone but Mayor Kiss agrees that it’s time for broad-based change in City Hall, and I believe that this campaign is uniquely poised to deliver that scale of change.
You’ve seen Miro’s signs around town. They say, very simply, “A Fresh Start.” And that, in a nutshell, is why I’ll be working hard to make Miro Weinberger the next mayor of Burlington.
Thank you very much.