Welcome

Hi, I’m Ali House: Social Worker, Educator, Political Activist- and your new City Councilor hopeful for Ward 8.

About Me

A professional headshot of Ali House, against the backdrop of a lake during the fall. She is wearing a white blouse and dark jacket.

Hi, my name is Ali House and I am excited to share my vision for Burlington with you! I bring experience serving on Vermont’s front lines as a social worker and public school educator throughout the pandemic, and I see how local policy impacts people’s lives. Now more than ever we need strong leaders who stand for what matters most in our community.

Platform

Climate Solutions

Burlington is at a pivotal moment when it comes to climate solutions. While our city’s electricity sector is 100% renewable, roughly 90% of our buildings are still heated and cooled using fossil fuels. We need to de-carbonize. Currently, the state legislature is reviewing a bill which originated in Burlington that would allow our city to regulate the heating and cooling systems of buildings. Under this, our city would be able to create cutting edge policy to move all buildings off of fossil fuels. As a city councilor, I will fight to ensure this happens, and that the transition to clean energy is impactful, decisive, and equitable. Like many, I feel the pressures and overwhelm related to the climate crisis and environmental issues. My own family has been impacted by the devastating effects of PFOA’s making their way into our water systems, and the horrific natural disasters occuring in Western states. Now more than ever, we need people in office who remain optimistic for our future, and believe that Earth is a place worth fighting for. Local government has a role to play, and Burlington can serve as a leader and an example for other communities. As a City, we need to take bold action. One step– one policy– at a time.

Housing Justice

Burlington is facing a housing crisis, and the ripple effects are being felt throughout our community. As a renter and a social worker, I understand how affordable housing is out of reach for so many– students and long-term residents alike. Historically, Burlington has relied on outside developers to alleviate this problem, however there are many alternatives available that do not involve gentrifying our city. We cannot overlook the role that UVM plays in this problem. As our city begins renegotiations with UVM, we need city council members who will fight to ensure that any housing policy solutions are just, and benefit the people of our city, not only the elite. Furthermore, we need people in office who believe wholeheartedly that shelter is a basic human right, and will resist horrific and unconscionable actions against members of the homeless and houseless communities, such as those taken as Sears Lane.

Public Safety

Historically, Burlington has lacked holistic approaches to public safety. Many people in our city have felt the impact of harmful police practices. As a social worker, I recognize that the issue of crime is complex, and originates largely from longstanding systems of oppression. Our community needs to take a holistic approach when addressing this by considering the motivating factors of crime, including a lack of support for people experiencing poverty, mental health crises, homelessness/houselessness, addiction, and other challenges. Burlington already has well-established community-led projects, such as ISGOOD, that are working to strengthen community relationships, and have been proven to reduce crime rates (including in studies conducted by the Burlington Police Department). We need to invest in programs such as this that will create meaningful community connection, increase the number of community outreach workers, and provide these workers with the support they need to respond to crises. As a city councilor, I would propose the city establish a Committee for Peace, made up of community members, that will meet regularly to determine the best course of action for reducing crime and reclaiming public safety throughout our community.

Mental Health

The ability to care for our mental health is a human right. It should not be something that is geared towards a specific group of people, or afforded only to a select few. We are living in unprecedented times, and we need equitable and affordable access to mental health services now more than ever. Current discussions often center around the notion of “self-care.” The idea that if only we were able to do more for ourselves, our internal struggles could be solved. While engaging in self-care practices can be beneficial for many folx, it cannot be our only solution. One of the flaws in the self-care movement is that it places the onus of mental health and wellbeing solely on individuals, rather than on the collective “us” and the systems within which we operate. Self care, since it can only go so far, must also be accompanied by collective care. Collective care means seeing mental health and wellbeing as a community and systemic obligation. It is something that can be created and shaped together. I envision a Burlington where everybody– not just those with means– are able to access a wide array of de-colonized collective care opportunities and mental health resources. This includes equitable access to counseling, therapeutic, and rehabilitation services, in addition to more informal opportunities for collective care such as community parks and gardens, collective healing/resilience workshops, open and closed-enrollment support groups, and much, much more. In my roles as a social worker and student I have founded, as well as facilitated, different support groups. I have also engaged with services and activities in my personal life that have strengthened my relationship to our community and promoted my own resilience. Without these opportunities I would not be who I am today. We all deserve that chance, and I will fight arm-in-arm to make Burlington a place where everyone can cultivate gratifying mental health practices.

Voting

Registering to vote in Burlington is free & easy online, click here. For more information on how to vote on Election Day, consult the city website.