Champlain Valley Democratic Socialists of America Endorse in Burlington City Council Elections

Four candidates for the Burlington City Council have received the endorsement of the Champlain Valley Democratic Socialists of America (CVDSA) – Zoraya Hightower, Ward 1; Max Tracy, Ward 2; Nate Lantieri, Ward 5; and Jane Stromberg, Ward 8.

As the March election looms in Burlington, the CVDSA is organizing to put the needs of working class people before private interests. They’re working to tackle issues such as combating the climate crisis through free and expanded public transportation and requiring landlords to weatherize rental units and supporting the No Mas Polimigra campaign, a movement started by the advocacy group Migrant Justice to ensure that police in the city aren’t in the business of deportations. Also high on the priority list is combating the housing crisis for low and no-income renters through rent-control and social housing and working towards police and prison abolition. 

“Over the last decade we have seen the impacts of profiteering by developers, big money interests, and their allies on City Council,” says James Richmond, co-chair of CVDSA. “That is why we are working to elect these four candidates who we believe will be allies in building a Burlington that centers the needs of the working class, renters, and our most exploited neighbors, not just those with the deepest pockets.”

This election marks the first time that the CVDSA has made formal endorsements of candidates in an electoral race. With over 150 members, the organization plans to mobilize its membership in order to support these candidates and shift the conversation toward issues most affecting hard-working Burlington residents.

“We have a lot of work to do in Burlington to make it a truly sustainable and equitable city, and I am so proud to have the endorsement of the Champlain Valley DSA in my bid for Burlington City Council,” says Jane Stromberg, Burlington City Council candidate for Ward 8. “Working together, we can fight for bold climate policy, tenants’ rights, and address social justice issues across the city. Let’s walk the walk and make this city the one to emulate in this country.”

All four candidates will be on stage for the Burlington Council Candidate Housing Debate hosted by the Burlington Tenants Union on Friday, February 21 beginning at 6:30PM at Contois Auditorium in Burlington’s City Hall.

DSA Condemns Police Chief Brandon del Pozo and City Government’s Support for him

December 15th, 2019

Burlington, VT – The Champlain Valley Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America condemns Brandon del Pozo’s actions as Burlington Police Chief and the City government’s role in covering up del Pozo’s actions.

It was unacceptable for del Pozo to dismiss criticism of his police department and it was despicable for him to harass a critic in response. His actions contribute to a pattern of impunity for the Burlington Police Department, members of which have hassled a high-schooler, used excessive force on African American community members, and punched and killed a resident, all within the last year.

We condemn both these actions and del Pozo’s recent trolling in the strongest terms.

Mayor Miro Weinberger’s response has been equally lacking. The mayor’s decision to hide his knowledge of del Pozo’s behavior and leave the chief in place is irresponsible and shows disregard for larger questions about the Department.

We acknowledge that Chief del Pozo was in the midst of a mental health crisis while he harassed Charles Winkleman, a member of Champlain Valley DSA. But we recognize also that del Pozo has faced no significant consequences. Instead, he got a paid vacation and political cover. Respect for mental health crises is critical, but we refuse to let it be used to distract from blatant police misconduct.

We encourage everyone to join the protest at City Hall Tomorrow and to help advocates hold del Pozo to account. We support the calls to remove del Pozo from the Howard Center Board and for community mental health organizations to stop working with BPD

Champlain Valley DSA Executive Committee


James Richmond Co-Chair Champlain Valley Democratic Socialists of America [email protected]

DSA Initiatives Win Big on Town Meeting Day

Grassroots Organizing Succeeds Again

March 6th, 2019

Burlington, VT — The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) won big in Burlington this Town Meeting Day. “We were elated to see the success of Perri Freeman and Jack Hanson in the Central and East Districts” said James Richmond, Co-Chair of Champlain Valley DSA (CVDSA). “Both candidates are champions of our values and they will work to reorient City Council so it represents the needs of working people and our most vulnerable neighbors.”

Freeman and Hanson both ran grassroots campaigns, knocking on doors in freezing temperatures, daily. “It’s clear that the issues and values we fought for in this campaign and across the City have resonated,” said Councilor-elect Freeman. “Our City is ready to tackle climate change and put the focus back on the needs of working people.” Freeman is a member of the Champlain Valley DSA.

CVDSA was also proud to contribute to the campaign against Ballot Question 4, which would have created a so-called “Downtown Improvement District” or DID. “Grassroots volunteers came city-wide to knock doors, speak to neighbors, and build connections” reported CVDSA member Walter Keady, who helped organize with the No On 4 Committee. “We centralized the proposed district’s threat to rent increases and fought hard to vote it down.”

Defeating the DID was a priority of CVDSA, since it represented the Mayor’s agenda of privatization and harassing the homeless population. “This represents a huge blow to the Mayor’s development agenda and a huge gain to grassroots power. With very little resources, we helped defeat the business agenda in the city because we organized. When we organize, we win.” said CVDSA member Emily Reynolds, co-chair of the Housing Justice Committee

“We know that the current political and economic system is not working for the vast majority of people,” said CVDSA member Heather Riemer. “We are organizing at the local, state and national level for healthcare for all, free public higher education and for the end to the practice of climate-destroying profiteers making a few more dollars at the expense of our future.”

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is a working-class, socialist organization which has grown to 56,000 members nationally. The Champlain Valley chapter is involved in housing, prison abolition and environmental justice initiatives. They meet monthly and can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

If you would like to speak with a representative of Champlain Valley DSA, please email [email protected] to schedule a time.

Burlington DSA Condemns Council Homeless Vote

Housing and healthcare are human rights

September 1st, 2017

Burlington, VT — The Burlington chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the largest socialist organization in the United States, condemns the August 28 City Council resolution which singles out the homeless and mentally ill for criminal penalties, and demands members of local government at all levels devote their efforts and resources to guarantee that none of our residents will go without a home or proper medical care.

Homelessness and its associated problems—including substance abuse, and severe and persistent mental illness—need not be facts of life. They are the predictable results of an economic arrangement that values money over people, resulting in unaffordable housing and lack of easy access to free, comprehensive, quality healthcare.

The Burlington DSA applauds Councilors Dieng and Tracy (Wards 7 and 2) for voting against this hateful legislation, and echo Dieng’s statement, “We should be a city with no homeless people.” The marginalized population upon whom the City Council has declared war is not the problem. Food, shelter, and healthcare are basic human rights. The real criminals are the 1% and their politicians who dream of multimillion dollar development projects, even as they allow others to go a single night without a home or access to effective medical treatment.


1. We are deeply concerned about the issue of selective enforcement. “Quality of life” issues (e.g., public intoxication and urination, fighting, etc.) have plagued downtown and Old North End (ONE) nightlife for years. The message seems fairly clear to us: these unacceptable sorts of behaviors will be punished just as long as you’re not a college student.

2. Focusing on “quality of life” crimes was the basis of New York City’s failed “broken windows” policing policy, which did little but fill up prison cells and rob young blacks and Latinos of their futures. Should we expect to see a stop-and-frisk law next?

3. We can’t help but notice the curious timing of this legislation, which is coincidentally complementary to the city’s aspirations for greater gentrification, such as the mall project and plans for the privatization and reconstruction of City Hall Park.

4. The factors underlying homelessness and its associated problems are accelerating gentrification, skyrocketing rent (fueled in no small part by UVM, which refuses to provide sufficient housing for its own students), an opioid crisis the city is only now starting to really tackle, and a broken mental health care system. However, rather than address the structural issues closer to the root of the problem, the city’s solution is to pass draconian legislation and erect metal barricades to protect its precious small business owners.

5. We are unaware of the city making any serious efforts to address the need for robust tenant protections including rent control and reduction measures, such as:

a. Requiring UVM to provide housing ( not buy up local housing) for the entirety of its student body, and provide clear financial incentives for students to live on-campus. Given its tuition for even in-state students, and that it is exempt from property taxes, such an undertaking should be quite affordable.

b. Instituting tenant protections and pricing controls requiring landlords to base rent on cost of living. Vermont is now one of the top five states in the US with the highest disparity between earned income and cost of living.

c. Providing comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment services rather than effectively outsourcing it to a patchy network of nonprofits and private providers.

d. Conducting a comprehensive survey to determine the actual occupancy rates of housing in the Burlington area throughout the year. In the Old North End, entire stretches of multi-unit houses sit empty throughout the summer, likely because no one can afford to rent them except groups of students.

Members of the press, or those wishing to speak about this or any Press Release from Champlain Valley DSA, can reach out to press(a)

Statement on Racism in Milton Schools

July 9th, 2017

The Burlington chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) wishes to express its solidarity with the students, parents, and teachers of the Milton School District—particularly those of color—who have endured the racism that is so prevalent in the district. Just in the last few months:

  • A 10 year old black boy was berated by a bus driver, who then called the police on him. The student had asked to get off at a different stop to stay with a relative because his parents weren’t home. White students on the same bus were allowed to get off at stops other than their own without issue.
  • A 12 year old girl was called the N-word, then suspended and told she was making the situation worse when she reported it.
  • A black candidate for the High School Athletic Director position—who was highly and unanimously recommended by the students and teachers of the hiring committee—had his offer rescinded by the school board after he had already resigned from his previous job. Not only did the board fail to provide an explanation for its action, at a recent public meeting, its members even attempted to claim that no firm decision had been reached.

It is clear the the people of Milton can have no trust in either the superintendent or the board. Racism is a direct attack on the working class. The Burlington DSA demands, at a minimum, the resignation of the superintendent. If she does not resign, the board should terminate her employment. Should the members of the board fail to do so, they should resign or be ousted to make room for new members committed to leading a multiracial fight to root out the pervasive racism in the Milton School District. Finally, the district must also ensure that teachers, staff, and students are given adequate anti-racism training, conducted under community oversight.

Members of the press, or those wishing to speak about this or any Press Release from Champlain Valley DSA, can reach out to press(a)