"I continue to be really passionate about the city of Burlington — about my ward," Knodell says. "I think I've got a lot of experience and also some new ideas to help us move forward."
The first candidate to enter the race for the open seat, Knodell brings with her some serious credentials.
She represented Ward 2 on the council from 1993 to 1997 and from 1999 to 2009, and served two years as council president. An economics professor at UVM, Knodell stepped down as the university's provost last November after more than three years in the post.
"I think I learned a lot about how you make large organizations work," Knodell says of her time at the top of UVM. "The city is a large organization. I think I've got some new insights to bring."
She says she'll also bring a longer view to city government.
"There's been a lot of turnover in the council — a lot of relatively new councilors. That was part of my thinking: I could offer the historical perspective," she says. "Obviously, we have a brand-new mayor, a new administration, great people with good ideas."
Though Knodell hails from a different party than Democratic Mayor Miro Weinberger, she says, "I think I can work well with him. There's a lot of overlaps between him and I in how we'd like to see Burlington move forward."
It's unclear who Knodell will face in the March election, though Democrats and Progressives have both typically fielded candidates in Old North End council races in recent years. Burlington Democratic Party chairman David Scherr did not immediately return a call seeking comment Sunday evening.
Councilor Max Tracy (P-Ward 2), who holds the other seat in the ward, says he encouraged Knodell — a mentor of his — to stage a return to the council.
"I'm really excited Jane's running. It'll be a tremendous opportunity to get much-needed experience among new councilors," he says. "I know we could really benefit from having another strong Progressive voice on the council."