(Host) Burlington’s candidates for mayor are busy scrambling for votes ahead of next week’s election, so VPR’s Kirk Carapezza went out to learn what voters are saying.
(Carapezza) The sense you get from many voters across this city is that they’re frustrated. Some are even angry.
(Sleeper) "I’d like to have somebody in City Hall who’s going to tell it like it is and get things accomplished."
(Carapezza) Retired pharmaceutical agent Kevin Sleeper was born and raised in Burlington. As he gets his morning coffee at a corner store in the South End, Sleeper says he hasn’t decided on a candidate quite yet but right now he’s leaning toward Republican City Councilor Kurt Wright
Many Kurt Wright supporters, like John Pijanowski, sound more excited about replacing Progressives than backing the Republican candidate.
(Pijanowski) "There’s been a stranglehold on city politics in Burlington by the Progressive leadership. It’s time for a change."
(Carapezza) Pijanowski sits in the back of the store, reading the Boston Herald and wearing a New York Giants sweat suit. Pijanowski voted for Wright in each of his previous two campaigns for mayor, and he will again on March 6th.
(Pijanowski) "I think it’s really going to take bold leadership that Kurt Wright offers to get us out of this mess."
(Carapezza) That mess includes some $50 million in pension debt; another $17 million general fund gap because the City used public funds to bail out Burlington Telecom.
Democrat real estate developer Miro Weinberger’s most ardent supporters sound decidedly more optimistic about their candidate.
(Bridges) "Too often in politics it’s all about the negatives."
(Carapezza) That’s Jessie Bridges. He’s an Assistant Athletic Director at UVM. Inside a bar in the New North End, he says his choice was easy.
(Bridges) "Where we’re at as a city, we needed an experienced manager."
(Carapezza) With just six days until Election Day, both Wright and Weinberger are targeting undecided voters.
(Weinberger) "Hi, I’m Miro Weinberger. I’m running for mayor."
(Carapezza) Weinberger has been going door-to-door to meet voters face-to-face.
(Weinberger) "If people really do want change their best option is to go with somebody who has been putting out clear ideas about how we intend to lead the city."
(Voter) "Vote early, vote often. (Wright) You got it! That’s the only way to win!"
(Carapezza) Back at the corner store, Kurt Wright may be joking around with his supporters, but he confidently explains why he thinks he’s got the edge in the race.
(Wright) "I’m really proud of the support we’re gathering from ordinary citizens across the city, from every political spectrum. We’re talking about the local citizens here, and the local citizens are going to decide this race."
(Carapezza) In this final weekend before Election Day, Wright, Weinberger and Independent Wanda Hines will continue crisscrossing the city, trying to motivate voters one more time.
For VPR News, I’m Kirk Carapezza.
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