Climate organizer Hanson announces city council run

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Fri, 01/04/2019 - 9:13am -- Denise Sortor

Jack Hanson announced today that he is running to represent the East District (Wards 1 and 8) on the Burlington City Council. The Pearl St. resident is seeking the Progressive nomination. Hanson is a UVM graduate who has lived in Burlington since 2012. Jack is most known as a community organizer and a local jazz musician. His father, Gerald Cleary, Jr., grew up in Burlington, and his parents met at UVM in the early 1980’s, while Bernie Sanders was mayor. Selene Colburn, the Progressive-Democrat State Representative and former East District Councilor, has endorsed Jack and is his campaign treasurer.

“Burlington has a proud tradition of local democracy, empowerment of community members of all backgrounds, and a development agenda that focuses on maintaining affordability for lower-income residents,” stated Jack in his announcement. “Unfortunately much of this tradition has been lost in recent years. The NPAs have been weakened. We are selling off local assets. We are often developing for the wealthy and tourists while pricing out working people and long-time residents. Burlington is an amazing place to live – but we are chipping away at who can afford to live here, and what makes Burlington special. By pricing out lower-wage workers, recent graduates, artists, musicians, New Americans, and young families, what kind of city does that leave? Diversity and involvement are keys to a strong and vibrant community, and the type of community I would like to help build as a city councilor. That starts with making sure we are not pricing people out.”

Jack is a leader on climate and environmental justice. He was heavily involved with divestment efforts at UVM, co-founded of the Renewable Energy Network, volunteers with 350 Vermont, and worked at VPIRG for two years. Most recently, Hanson was hired by Green Mountain Power, where he will work as an Energy Transformation Rep., helping customers to reduce their fossil fuel use through efficiency and electrification.

“If I’m elected, leading the City’s response to climate change will be a top priority. We can’t wait for the Federal or even the State government to do it for us. While we push both of them to do better, let’s take care of business right here at home. Burlington Electric Department has shown the way with 100% renewable electricity -- now it’s time we focus on transportation and heating so that we can get off of fossil fuels entirely. Our window of time to do this is very short, so I want to make sure we stay focused, and we do this in a way that benefits our entire community – especially those most vulnerable to climate change.”

Jack has been involved in local and state level politics for several years, serving as a paid staffer on Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) presidential campaign and as campaign manager for Chris Pearson’s successful 2016 State Senate campaign. He has volunteered on a number of local Progressive campaigns -- both for candidates and issues. Hanson has served on the Burlington Progressive Steering Committee since 2016 and this past fall he was the party’s Elections Director, supporting over forty candidates across the state.

Jack’s campaign’s first test will be at the Progressive Caucus on January 6th at the Sustainability Academy, to be followed eight weeks later by the March 5th elections.