Two headline-grabbing politicians aren't seeking reelection this Town Meeting Day: Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon and Shelburne Selectboard chair Gary von Stange.
Neither incumbent filed for reelection by day's end Monday, the deadline for candidates who want to be listed on the ballot on March 6.
After 12 years of running Barre and months of speculation about his political future, Lauzon confirmed to Seven Days that he is stepping aside. Lauzon, who owns an accounting firm and is one of Barre’s largest developers, endorsed Lucas Herring, his ally on the city council. Herring is running against fellow councilor Sue Higby, a vocal Lauzon critic who often accused the mayor of having conflicts of interest.
“I will miss it terribly. I already do,” Lauzon, 56, said. “It’s going to be very strange. But life goes on.”
Lauzon said he plans to stay in Barre, his childhood home, and will remain involved in the proposed mixed-use Park Center development project, which would be the largest of its kind in modern Barre history.
He may not be done with politics. The Republican said he is considering running for lieutenant governor, and hopes to make up his mind by Town Meeting Day.
Meanwhile, von Stange told Seven Days earlier this month that he had promised his wife that he would retire from the selectboard and that he was leaning against running to honor the pledge. He has served on the board since 2009, and last year presided over a tumultuous failed attempt to oust selectman Josh Dein.
Shelburne Selectboard chair Gary von Stange
Mary Kehoe, an attorney who would be a newcomer to the selectboard, filed to run for the seat that von Stange is vacating. She's unopposed for the three-year term.
In Winooski, the founder of Black Lives Matter Vermont hopes to run for a two-year term on the city council. Ebony Nyoni submitted a petition, but it was incomplete. She has until 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to submit a completed petition, according to Jessie Baker, Winooski city manager.
Candidates need signatures from at least 50 registered city voters to qualify for the ballot in Winooski. Nyoni submitted 63, but only 41 were from valid registered voters, Baker said via email.
If Nyoni completes the petition, she will run unopposed for one of two open spots on the council. Incumbents Brian Sweeney and Brian Corrigan did not file to run again. Also running for a seat: Kristine Lott, who would be new to the city council and currently serves on the Winooski Housing Commission.
Voters will also face various ballot questions. Shelburne, South Burlington, Williston and Burlington voters are among those who will weigh in on the creation of a regional emergency dispatch system known as the Chittenden County Public Safety Authority.
In Williston, voters will be asked to remove the town from the Winooski Valley Park District, a nonprofit that manages lands in the Winooski River Valley. Williston is one of seven communities that are district members, but the town has no parks in the system.
The town will pay about $32,000 to be part of the system in 2019, no matter how residents vote. The decision to withdraw, if voters approve, would not take effect until 2020, according to Williston town manager Richard McGuire.