Burlington Political Parties Nominate Candidates for Special Election | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Burlington Political Parties Nominate Candidates for Special Election

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Published October 10, 2022 at 9:17 p.m.
Updated November 1, 2022 at 8:43 p.m.


Dina John (left) and Maea Brandt - COURTESY PHOTOS
  • Courtesy photos
  • Dina John (left) and Maea Brandt
Burlington's major political parties have chosen their candidates for the East District's special city council election on December 6.

At a caucus on Saturday, Dina John defeated Jake Schumann for the Progressive nomination, 24 to 6. Schumann also sought support from the Democrats but lost to Maea Brandt, 40 to 0, at that party's caucus Monday night.

Schumann said he will run as an independent and planned to file a petition by the October 11 deadline. Christopher-Aaron Felker, chair of the Burlington GOP, didn't respond to questions about whether Republicans have a candidate.



The election will fill a vacancy created by Jack Hanson, who resigned in mid-September after applying for a job with the Burlington Electric Department. It will be the first race decided with ranked choice voting since the city abandoned the method in 2010 — then recently resurrected it. The winner will determine the partisan balance of the 12-person council, which currently has an equal number of Democrats and Progressives — four apiece — plus two independents.

The Ward 8 seat is also vacant after Progressive councilor Ali House resigned last week. That special election is slated for Town Meeting Day in March 2023.
John, whose family immigrated to the U.S. from Kenya in 2004, grew up in Burlington and attended the University of Vermont, graduating in May. The 22-year-old works as a judicial law clerk for the Vermont Superior Court and previously interned with local law firm Paul Frank + Collins.

John said she wants to address issues such as the city's affordable housing crisis, homelessness and transportation.

"We don't compromise on equality, justice, equity, sustainability," John said of the Progressive Party. "My role and my running is just to bring about change."

Jake Schumann - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Jake Schumann
Schumann, 31, had also pitched housing policies, including a program to help renters purchase their apartment building if it's listed for sale, and a zoning change to encourage the development of tiny homes.

Brandt, 57, is an artist and professor at Saint Michael's College who has lived in Burlington for three decades. As someone who is half Asian, Brandt said she's concerned about racial and social justice and is "very interested in helping Burlington forge an identity that's inclusive."

Brandt also said she's "very green" and favors policies to protect the environment. A political neophyte, she called on residents to come to her with their concerns.

"This is my first foray into politics," Brandt said. "I would really like to represent my district, but I also encourage everyone to participate with me and help me to be a voice for the East District and to vote in a way that is representative of all of us."

Candidates at both events touched on public safety. Brandt said she worries about her children walking home from Edmunds Middle School and Burlington High School. John said policy makers need to do a better job of engaging with Black people and those in the LGBTQ community, who are often the victims of police brutality.

Schumann, at the Progressive caucus, said the city needs to hire more unarmed workers to respond to emergency calls and that the citizen-led Police Commission needs more support.

Early voting begins on October 24. The winner of December's election will serve until Town Meeting Day, when all four district council seats will be up for election.