Student runs for seat in City Council election


Lee Hughes and Emma Jarnagin

In his campaign for Ward 8 councilman, UVM junior JF Carter Neubieser has broken University rules.

Neubieser missed a Feb. 23 debate to attend student racial justice protests. He also campaigned in residence halls, he said, which is against University policy.

Neubieser, Ward 8 school board candidate Keith Pillsbury and Ward 8 city council incumbent and Adam Roof ’11 presented during public forum Feb. 27 to SGA.

“I spent like four hours beforehand [preparing], showed up at the debate, and me and Adam were going to share our visions,” Neubieser said.

Neubieser wholeheartedly rejects the thought that his actions were unprofessional, he said.

He said that it was his responsibility as someone seeking a position of power to go and stand in solidarity with people who “are really just fighting for nothing radical. It’s just basic human dignity and basic morality,” he said.

Neubieser decided to run for City Council after seeing how students lack a voice in city politics, he said.

“The reason I really decided to get into this race is because I’m tired,” Neubieser said.

Neubieser is tired of the University marketing itself as a place that is inclusive, good on the environment and focused on economic justice, he said.

“We’ve seen over the last couple of days that the University is not the ideal [that it markets],” Neubieser said.

Senior Will Sudbay, SGA chair of legislative and community affairs, told Neubieser that campaigning in residence halls breaks UVM rules.

Neubieser replied, “I don’t care what the rules are.”

The University unevenly enforces this rule and restricts students’ ability to be politically active, he said.

Sudbay is afraid Neubiser’s actions will have adverse consequences on other students in terms of political speech around campus, he said.

Sophomore Mikaela McSharry said that Neubieser campaigned in her residence hall. “He was telling me about his platform,” she said. “It’s just kind of what you would expect from a politician.”

McSharry said that speaking to Neubieser made her realize that she needs to research the candidates’ positions more before voting in the election.

First-year Hayden Rungren first began hearing about the election from posters around campus and when Neubieser came into one of their club meetings to talk about his campaign, Rungren said.

“I’m glad someone wants to hold UVM accountable for its shit,” Rungren said.

In Roof’s opening statement to SGA, he spoke about his experience in leadership and his plan for the future that would help him in his next term in office.

Roof said he has three actions he promises to deliver during the first 60 days of his term if re-elected.

  1. Establish and require diversity and equity training for all incoming city councilors and commission appointees.
  2. Initiate a diversity assessment to study the commissions and make recommendations on how to address inequalities of the commissioners at city hall. He would have this work done through the community and revitalization committee, of which he is currently chair.
  3. Advocate for funding of at least one additional community outreach specialist to connect and build relationships with minority members of the Burlington community.

Affordable rent, sexual assault, income inequality and Burlington’s homeless population are all issues Roof is planning to continue his work on, he said.

“I have the experience to translate ideology into action that impacts your lives,” he said.