- Courtney Lamdin ©️ Seven Days
- C D Mattison
C D Mattison, a Democrat, launched her campaign outside city hall on Monday. She was joined by a small but passionate group of supporters, who toted signs with her slogans: "One BTV" and "Trust. Innovation. Progress."
Mattison, the only candidate not currently in elected office, will face two longtime politicians at the Democratic caucus on December 10: Council President Karen Paul (D-Ward 6) and Councilor Joan Shannon (D-South District), who have a combined 35 years on the council. Vermont Rep. Emma Mulvaney-Stanak (P/D-Burlington), a former city councilor, is so far the only Progressive in the race.
Town Meeting Day is March 5.
On Monday, Mattison positioned herself as the antiestablishment candidate, a message she hopes will resonate with people who feel they've "been dismissed" by city government.
"I'm here today grateful for the trust you place in me: someone new," she said. "This is our time. This is our Burlington."
A military kid, Mattison grew up in Germany, Georgia and Alaska. She first visited Burlington in 1986 as a junior at Dartmouth College and moved to Vermont the following year. She now lives in the South End.
As a tech consultant, Mattison has worked for companies such as Burton Snowboards, OnLogic and Dick's Sporting Goods, according to her LinkedIn profile. Mattison, who is gay and Black, serves on the board of directors for the Vermont Professionals of Color Network and Public Assets Institute. She also served on the Outright Vermont board for several years.
Mattison pondered running against Weinberger in 2021 but decided not to since she thought the city needed stable leadership during the pandemic. She served as Weinberger's campaign treasurer instead.
But her support for the mayor eventually soured. Mattison told Seven Days last year that Weinberger divided the city by pushing a narrative that Burlington is less safe with fewer cops. And she said he mistreated Tyeastia Green, the city's first and former racial equity director, who left the city after reportedly not feeling supported in her role.
Like the candidates before her, Mattison's speech on Monday touched on Burlington's public safety challenges, which have left the city "in distress," she said. Underscoring her point, Mattison noted that at the time of her campaign launch, Burlington police had just started a press conference about a Sunday night shooting that left two men dead.
Mattison said that as mayor she would work with Gov. Phil Scott and leaders in cities such as Brattleboro and Rutland to create long-term mental health care and addiction recovery services. She said the city needs housing with built-in social services, "ensuring no one slips through the cracks."
But Mattison also acknowledged that she doesn't have all the answers. She invited people to reach out.
"What are the challenges that weigh on you? What hopes do you hold for the future?" she asked. "I'm here to gather our collective stories, to tune in to your voices that may have been lost in the fray. Tell me: What do you expect from your mayor?"
Speaking to reporters after her speech, Mattison described herself as "a pragmatic visionary" who thinks about how policies can harm as well as help people. She said she's going to work hard to get people to the caucus, including younger voters and people disenchanted with the status quo.
"It's about networking. That's the kind of community leader I've been, anyway," Mattison said. "I'm going to leverage those networks I've made over the past many years here in Burlington and get people to show up for the first time, maybe, who just haven't [before]."