BURLINGTON, Vt. – Burlington City Council President Max Tracy has announced he won’t be seeking re-election on Town Meeting Day, marking the end of a decade-long run as one of the city’s more prominent Progressive voices.

“It’s been an incredibly difficult decision to make as I’ve certainly loved serving on the city council,” Tracy said. “It’s been an absolute honor and a joy to serve my community in this way, but it’s always been a challenge to maintain a day job and also work on council issues.”

Tracy works full-time as a union organizer for the Vermont Federation of Nurses and Healthcare Professionals, which represents hundreds of employees at UVM Medical Center.

He said the pandemic has increased his workload in that capacity, while also bringing greater urgency to the work of the city council.

“As I looked forward towards election season, I really had concerns about being able to balance work on the council, running for office and also getting ready to work with the nurses at UVMMC who are going to be bargaining their next contract in the coming year,” Tracy said.

In the end, the priority of advocating for healthcare workers won out.

“Healthcare workers are under unbelievable strain and stress right now and are really honestly burnt out, so it’s really a challenging moment for nurses and techs in our area,” Tracy said. “I think that they’re going to have some real issues to contend with as they negotiate their next contract.”

Tracy has been city council president for two years, and has represented Ward 2 on the council since 2012.

He also had a busy 2021, mounting a mayoral campaign in which he narrowly lost to incumbent Mayor Miro Weinberger by 129 votes.

As for his soon-to-be-vacant seat, Tracy said he won’t be making any endorsements in the near future.

“What I’ve said is I’m open to folks expressing interest in running for the seat that I’m vacating, and I’m going to hold off endorsing candidates until after our nominating caucus later this month,” Tracy said. “At that point, I’ll be working closely with our slate of candidates in order to support them as they seek election.”

When asked what qualities will be important for whoever succeeds him as council president, Tracy had a quick answer in mind.

“A lot of patience,” he said. “It takes a ton of patience and really being willing to put aside your own personal feelings on an issue in order to be able to fairly moderate a debate on that issue, both in terms of the council and also welcoming people from a variety of viewpoints to participate in the public forum.”