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First candidate announces run for vacant Burlington City Council seat

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, right, swears in newly-elected and re-elected city councilors on April 4. There will be a special election on Dec. 6 for the East District seat. File photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

The first person to announce a run for a recently vacated Burlington City Council seat has come forward.

Jake Schumann made his announcement at a Ward 1 Neighborhood Planning Assembly meeting last week, he told VTDigger in an interview. Shumann, a 13-year resident of the city with a background in community development and social services, plans to run for the East District seat, which became available following Jack Hanson’s recent resignation to seek a city job. 

Mayor Miro Weinberger announced Wednesday that the special election for the seat would be held on Dec. 6. Schumann’s entry into the race was first reported by Seven Days.

Schumann said he was already considering a run for city council in March 2023, but accelerated his plans when the East District seat opened up. Schumann told VTDigger he intends to run as an independent, but hopes to earn the support of both Progressives and Democrats.

“I think that party politics have gotten a little bit toxic in Burlington,” Schumann said. “I’d like both endorsements, and if I get them, I’d like to run as an independent.”

Representatives from each of the city’s three major parties said they were still in the early stages of planning for the race.

Josh Wronski, chair of the Vermont Progressive Party, said Schumann had told him he intended on caucusing with the Progressives. Wronski said he anticipates others coming forward to seek the party’s nomination.

“I think there’s a good chance it will be a competitive race on the Progressive side,” Wronski said.

Wronski said his party has kicked off conversations with others as well. 

“We’re also launching a kind of broad recruitment effort, just to get the word out, because we want to make sure it’s as democratic a process as possible,” Wronski said.

Christopher-Aaron Felker, chair of the Burlington Republican Party, told VTDigger that he has not yet been approached by anyone seeking the Republican nomination. 

Adam Roof, chair of the Burlington Democrats, said he expected to meet the Oct. 11 filing deadline for petitions from candidates.

“We’re actively talking to a number of people who are interested,” Roof said.

Schumann said his campaign platform would focus on housing. He also spoke of providing “moral leadership” to heal the “social and cultural trauma” of the pandemic era. 

“We really need somebody who can build bridges, who can facilitate dialogues and who can facilitate healing,” Shumann said.

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