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Emma Mulvaney-Stanak elected mayor of Burlington

A woman is in conversation with another person.
Zoe McDonald
Vermont Public
Emma Mulvaney-Stanak spoke to voters on Tuesday, March 5. She was announced the winner of the Burlington mayoral race that evening.

For the first time in its history, Vermont’s largest city elected a woman to the office of mayor. Progressive candidate Emma Mulvaney-Stanak defeated longtime city councilor and Democrat Joan Shannon to become Burlington’s next leader.

Preliminary data from the City of Burlington showed Mulvaney-Stanak with 7,612 votes to Shannon's 6,696.

Mulvaney-Stanak runs a social change consulting business and is a member of the Vermont House of Representatives. She’s also previously served on the Burlington City Council and worked as a community organizer.

"We not only have a woman mayor after 159 years, we have the first openly LGBTQ+ mayor," Mulvaney-Stanak said as she celebrated with her supporters Tuesday night at Zero Gravity brewery in Burlington.

This year’s election was the first open mayoral race since 2012 – when Miro Weinberger won and became the first Democratic mayor in the city in three decades. Weinberger announced in September that he wouldn’t seek a fifth term.

Weinberger, speaking to reporters Tuesday night, said his administration was ready to help with Mulvaney-Stanak’s transition into office.

"We're gonna work very hard for this to be a smooth transition," he said. "And then I intend to offer Emma any support that she would like to have beyond that. It's very important to me that she succeeded in this role at this important time for our community."

The mayoral race was largely dominated by one issue: public safety. In recent years there’s been a surge in homelessness, more visible drug use, and an uptick in some types of crime, like vehicle break-ins and gunfire incidents.

Mulvaney-Stanak’s approach on public safety focused on addressing broader systemic issues — like poverty, addiction, and homelessness. She supports bolstering the city’s police force, but she doesn’t think adding officers alone will solve Burlington’s problems.

She said her administration would work to tackle a range of challenges facing Burlington – like public safety, the housing shortage and climate change.

"As your next mayor, I'm going to tell you the future's bright," Mulvaney-Stanak said. "But you know what, it's not all on me. It's on all of us to do this together. So let's get started."

Speaking at the Burlington Democrats' party Tuesday night, Shannon asked her supporters to support Mulvaney-Stanak.

“Our commitment is not just to the campaign, but to moving Burlington forward, so let’s offer our ‘all hands on deck’ to Emma,” Shannon said, referencing her campaign slogan.

Independents William Emmons and Chirstopher Hassly got 273 and 205 votes, respectively.

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Liam is Vermont Public’s public safety reporter, focusing on law enforcement, courts and the prison system.
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