City Councilor Brian Pine (P-Ward 3) formally announced his campaign for Burlington mayor in a virtual press conference on Monday, pledging to rely on his three decades of experience in local politics if elected to the top post at City Hall.
Pine kicked off the announcement with a pre-recorded clip at the Northgate Apartments in the New North End, the birthplace of his local political activism. In the video, Pine recounted his work in the 1980s to help residents purchase the low-income housing complex, saving it from a plan to revamp the units into market-rate condos.
Pine said his experience advocating for people “left at the margins” will inform how he’d govern as mayor.
“We need more than a custodial government for our city. We need bold action, grounded around a commitment to values,” he said, adding, “I want Burlington to once again be a city government that stands for positive change.”
Pine will seek the Progressive nomination alongside fellow Councilor Max Tracy (Ward 2) at the party’s caucus on December 1. Councilor Ali Dieng (I-Ward 7) also plans to take a shot at unseating incumbent Mayor Miro Weinberger, a Democrat who announced last week he’s seeking a fourth term. Patrick White, a South End insurance policy writer, is running as an independent.
Pine said he would drop out of the race if he doesn’t win his party’s nomination. He was also hesitant to compare himself to either Tracy or Weinberger, saying he respects them both and doesn’t want to run a negative campaign.
“We will be presenting both different visions and a different style and a different approach to governing the city,” Pine said of Weinberger, “and I believe that will become something that will become increasingly clear.”
Instead, Pine focused on his own background and longevity in the political scene. Pine served on the city council in the 1990s and worked on housing policy for close to 18 years as an assistant director in the city’s Community and Economic Development Office. In that role, Pine said, he balanced budgets, managed staff and developed programs.
“It's not enough just to have positions that we hold; we need to then know how to actually implement those positions,” he said.
Pine said if elected, he would have a “proactive agenda” focused on social and environmental justice and racial equity. During the pandemic, he would “create a culture of safety against the backdrop of a nation that has lost its way,” Pine said. He also wants to move both the stalled CityPlace development and police reforms forward at a quicker pace.
Christianson, an attorney and member of Burlington’s Development Review Board, told Seven Days last week he was “strongly considering” a run. In a press release Monday, Christianson said the pandemic solidified his desire to help his community.
“I want to do my part to help the New North End and the entire City as we emerge from what is sure to be a long winter and face a surge in COVID-19 cases, and the closing down of businesses and public spaces,” he wrote in a statement. “The virus doesn’t care if you’re a Republican, a Democrat, or a Progressive — and neither do I.”
While he’ll likely seek both the Democratic and Progressive nominations, Christianson said he's not sure under which party flag he’d run. In 2019, he ran as an independent with the Progressive Party’s endorsement.
Christianson faces competition from Kerin Durfee, who is seeking the Democratic nomination, and Mark Barlow, an independent.
If elected, Christianson said he would work to reform the police department's use-of-force policies, address the opioid epidemic and expand access to public transit.
Correction, November 16, 2020: A previous version of this story misidentified which party endorsements Christianson received in 2019.