Race for City Council Heats Up

Democrat Ian Carleton, Republican Nathan Rice and Progressive Erika Nestor are aggressively campaigning for the open Ward 1 seat in City Council as Town Meeting Day rapidly approaches. For the lawyer, UVM student and PTO president, respectively, the March 5 election is expected to be a close one. Ward 1 encompasses both Main and East campuses of UVM, so the candidates are fighting to represent the interests of a significant portion of the UVM community. Carleton, a lawyer at Hoff, Curtis, Pacht, Cassidy and Frame in Burlington is looking to offset the Progressive majority in City Council. “The Progressives have a majority in the city,” said Carleton. “With seven Progressives already on council and a Progressive for mayor, there isn’t really a balance of power. Many in the city feel that their side isn’t being listened to. Within Ward 1, the current two Progressives in power ran unopposed. There needs to be more balance.” The former kindergarten teacher and Yale Law School graduate hopes to put his 12 years of law, government and community service experience to work. Carleton has been heavily involved in Vermont politics and has represented several UVM students in court. “I am concerned with two areas: parking and student-police relations,” said Carleton. “Parking is extremely difficult both off and on campus. “With student-police relations, I’ve represented many UVM students who have been bulldozed by the police. Students’ rights need to be protected and respected. “We can work to have both strong law enforcement and students’ rights respected at the same time.” Republican for City Council Nathan Rice also hopes to spoil the Progressive majority in City Council with a victory March 5. “The Progressives have been in power for about 20 years or so,” said Rice. “They have not been asking what the city wants. The will of the people have been fairly repressed.” The UVM junior and Political Science major has been working closely with the Vermont Republican Party in Montpelier. The availability of housing in the city is Rice’s primary concern. “There needs to be more housing both on and off campus,” said Rice. “The council recently passed a resolution that no more than four unrelated persons can live together. If they enforce this, many people will be without places to live. The school also needs to build more housing, as well. Some schools guarantee you housing for four years. While students might feel a loss of freedom on campus, there needs to be more housing.” Progressive for City Council Erika Nestor is currently employed at UVM while earning her doctorate. She has been pleased with her Ward 1 representative. “I found that he has always responded to my concerns,” said Nestor. “I don’t honestly know how the other wards have been, but I would hope they were good at listening to the residents’ concerns.” A PTO President for Edmunds Elementary, Nestor has a masters degree in Higher Education Student Affairs (HESA) from UVM and works in Billings Student Center in Orientation and Parent Affairs under Student Affairs. Nestor believes that the University needs to improve its relationship with the city of Burlington and that providing adequate housing for the city’s residents is important. “It has an OK relationship with the city,” said Nestor. “But there is a lot of finger-pointing. UVM and the city need to work together to improve the quality of life for the residents of Burlington and the students. Also, housing is an issue. There aren’t enough rentals and finding a house is also extremely difficult. “There needs to be more housing for low-and-middle families. Also, taking care of the environment is always important.” Each candidate for City Council offers different reasons why the residents of Burlington and UVM should vote for them. “I have a lot of experience,” said Carleton. “I want to bring a balance of power, and represent the residents in Ward 1 fairly. “I want to bring integrated panels and others to help end the heroin problem in Burlington, work on a permit program for parking and work on student-police relations.” “Being a student, I have the same ideas and issues as the rest of UVM,” said Rice. “I will represent the student body, and they can trust I will represent them.” “I have approachability and integrity,” said Nestor. “I will cross party lines and work with anyone. I already have connections between UVM and the city. I care deeply about civil rights and education. I have the ability to work with all types of people.”