For the second time in less than a month, a Progressive member of the Burlington City Council has resigned, effective immediately. Ward 8 Councilor Ali House’s decision leaves her ward without any representation on the council until December.
After defeating Democrat Hannah King by 43 votes on Town Meeting Day in March, House was sworn in the following month. Both House and King were students at the University of Vermont at the time, seeking to represent a ward largely populated by UVM students. King declined a request for an interview on Wednesday.
For her part, House told local media outlets in a Wednesday afternoon email that she didn’t wish to be interviewed, either. However, she added:
“Over the last few months, several serious situations have made it difficult for me to carry out my council duties, and my mental health has been impacted in many ways. I would appreciate space from the public as I heal from these experiences.”
Burlington Democratic Party Chair Adam Roof does not live in Ward 8 at the moment. However, he held the Ward 8 City Council seat from 2015 to 2020.
“I’m also feeling for folks in Ward 8, where I used to represent,” he said. “Right now, it’s a tough situation for them because they are without Alison House or Jack Hanson; they are unrepresented.”
East District Progressive Jack Hanson — representing both Ward 1 and Ward 8 — resigned three weeks ago. He wanted to apply for a position with Burlington Electric that will have to report to a City Council committee Hanson himself chaired. He stepped down to avoid a potential conflict of interest.
“The way that I understand it — and I’m pretty sure this is accurate — is that we will have that special election for the East District on December 6,” Roof said. “And then, to fill the Ward 8 seat, that will go along with the four district races happening on Town Meeting Day this March.”
Jordan Redell, Mayor Miro Weinberger’s chief of staff, verified Roof’s understanding in a Wednesday email. She wrote, in part:
“That’s correct. The election to fill the Ward 8 seat will occur on Town Meeting Day…”
Redell noted in her email that under the terms of the city charter, any City Council seat that becomes vacant after October 1 “shall be filled at the next annual City election”.
Roof is in the midst of a move from his current home in Burlington’s Ward 6. ABC22 and FOX44 asked him if he might move back to Ward 8 and seek either of the open seats.
“Who knows? Maybe someday, I’ll be back to City Hall — we’ll have to see,” he said. “(I have) no designs (for either seat) in the works right now — but never say never.”
Jane Stromberg served as Ward 8 City Councilor until choosing to not seek re-election this year. She did not reply to an interview request for this story before Wednesday night’s deadline.
Gene Bergman and Joe Magee, City Councilors representing Wards 2 and 3, respectively, also had not replied to interview requests as of late Wednesday night. Seven Days reported on Wednesday that House consulted with Bergman and Magee before replying to a reporter’s questions about whether or not she still resides in the Queen City.