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Election Season Heats Up: Whitaker Takes On Watson for Mayor, Others Compete for Open Seats

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Top row, District 3 candidates, from left: incumbent Jennifer Morton, challengers Gene Leon and Alice Goltz. Bottom row, from left: mayoral incumbent Anne Watson and challenger Stephen Whitaker. All photos courtesy except Whitaker photo by Carla Occaso.
Stephen Whitaker, a frequent and vocal participant in city government, has filed paperwork to unseat incumbent Mayor Anne Watson. Other Montpelier residents are throwing their hats in the ring as well, making for several contested candidate races.

In addition to Whitaker’s run against Watson, Gene Leon and Jennifer Morton are both vying to complete a 2-year term for one of two District 3 seats left vacant when former District 3 council member Dan Richardson was hired to be Burlington city attorney last summer. Morton was appointed to fill the vacancy on Sept. 1, 2021. Leon said, in a written statement, he wants to reform city government, take care of aging infrastructure, water quality, the environment, recreational expansion, and public communication, among other things. Morton did not have a statement posted in the guide. Alice Goltz and Cary Brown are competing for the remaining District 3 council seat. Goltz ran for the District 3 seat, but was defeated by Richardson. She has lived in the district for 11 years, according to an interview she did on ORCA Media last year. She sees housing for homeless people and low-income residents as a priority. Cary Brown is the executive director of the Vermont Commission on Women. This seat is being vacated by Jay Ericson, who announced last month he would not be seeking reelection.

Two council members are seeking re-election unopposed. Dona Bate is seeking re-election to her District 1 city council seat, which she has held since 2014. Conor Casey is also seeking re-election for his District 2 seat. Casey assumed office in 2018.

A couple of other contested races have emerged. Emily C. Donaldson and Page Guertin both hope to win the 5-year term on the Parks Commission. Additionally, Kurt Kuehl and Therese Mageau both want the other 2-year open seat on the Cemetery Commission. Mageau submitted a statement saying she has had a lifelong love of town cemeteries. And Jake Brown is seeking re-election (unopposed so far) for the 5-year term on the Cemetery Commission

Those seeking a position in local city government had to get their petitions and statements of candidacy into the City Clerk’s office by 5 p.m. Jan. 24. Following the filing, the City Clerk’s office has to verify signatures before a candidate’s name is cleared to appear on the ballot, so this information will be updated. If statements have been submitted, those were linked to their names on the City Voter Guide.

These city ballot positions are open in 2022 — city ballot only, not openings for schools, public safety, career center, or other positions, such as state representative.

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