Burlington Vermont Frozen Waterfront

What do you think, Burlington?

I was told that I should run for Mayor to ensure Burlington, Vermont becomes America’s best small city. What do you think #Burlington, #VT

Ali is a natural leader and problem solver. He always has been. He sees challenges in a community and doesn’t just observe nor does he complain. He begins the hard work of solving problems, of thinking of creative solutions and overcoming barriers. He did this in Africa in his work organizing youth workers, in the Burlington School District through the founding of Parent University, and as a City Councilor on a variety of community issues. He brings a unique combination of visionary thinking, concrete problem solving skills and a dedication to strengthening the community and striving toward equity to each challenge he works to address. He is not daunted by these challenges but energized by the opportunity to make real and positive change for Burlington.

Ali knows our community, including those most underserved and disenfranchised. He has worked tirelessly throughout his life and his career for justice to bring the voice of the underrepresented to the forefront. He has himself been the underserved, the disenfranchised and he knows what it feels like to not be listened to, to be underestimated, to be discounted. Rather than becoming discouraged, these experiences have only galvanized him more to work for justice – to empower underserved people and communities in Burlington to engage and be heard and be part of discussions and decisions for our city.

I have never met anyone who has worked as hard as Ali has, someone as eager to learn, and someone as committed to making a positive difference. He had so little growing up, his journey has been long and difficult, and yet he still has such energy for continuing to do more, with so many more ideas to pursue and problems to solve. His life and his work is a testament to his strength and resolve to build community, strive for inclusivity, and get things done that truly move us forward.

Ali is smart. He grew up speaking three different languages from an early age. He came to the U.S. not knowing English and now is able to easily debate and discuss some of our city’s most complex issues at council meetings, in media interviews, and in community forums. His mind is always full speed ahead with ideas and opportunities to consider.

While Ali has many great qualities and skills, he doesn’t approach any of his work with a focus on himself alone. He is a collaborator in everything he does. He absolutely believes that we can accomplish our best work and greatest goals as a team, and he will bring smart and dedicated people to his team in the city, people with the same values of justice and equity, and people willing to put politics aside to work together for the common good.

There is no doubt that Ali would face many significant and challenging issues upon becoming mayor. But I have absolutely no doubt that he would rise to that challenge with flying colors. He has what it takes – the character, the charisma, the skill, the work ethic, the passion and dedication that would ensure Burlington, Vermont becomes America’s best small city.